Events For February

I’ve got a few things coming up the pike for this Web site, and will post them soon, but today I wanted to share the times and places for a couple of meet-and-greets I’ll be having next month.

The first of these events will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Vermillion Public Library in Vermillion, S.D.

The second will take place two days later, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Feb. 23, at the Yankton Community Library, in Yankton, S.D.

(I thank both of these libraries for the opportunity.)

At each of these events I will read a passage from A Marble Heart, talk about the writing and research process, answer audience questions and (hopefully) sell a few copies.

If you’re in the area, please try to come to one of them. If you aren’t in the area, I have a different request.

Do you have a library, book club or other venue that might have an audience with an interest in A Marble Heart? Please contact me and tell me about it. I would enjoy paying you a visit. I want to tell as many people as I can about this book, and if you are willing to give me the opportunity, I am more than willing to take it.

A Playlist

I almost always listen to music when I write. I do not want absolute quiet when I’m working. If there isn’t some background noise I can lose focus on what I’m doing. When there is something playing, I concentrate more. Not sure why, but that’s how it works for me.

While I know there are musicians and bands whose music has influenced my writing, I can’t say that any of the music I listened to while writing A Marble Heart influenced its final shape.

What I can say while looking over the following list is that these albums served as a distraction in more ways than one. It’s no fun to write about child abuse, and I guess I needed some music that I really enjoy to keep my spirits up.

So, here is an informal collection of albums I listened to throughout the writing of A Marble Heart (with tracks from those albums):

“Safe As Milk” by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

“Lazaretto” by Jack White

“Life After Death” by the Notorious BIG

“Loaded” by The Velvet Underground

What’s In A Title?


“Where did you get the title?”

Quite often, I have no answer to this question. Or, more likely, I have no desire to answer this question.

In the case of A Marble Heart, however, I do have an answer and I have no problem giving it. The title came from a short news item from the Bemidji Pioneer in 1902. As soon as I saw the sentence, “Get your marble heart ready,” I knew I had my title.

For a while I was pretty proud of myself for having a title that good. Then, about a year ago, I was reading a book that had a list of all the comedies Mack Sennett produced. One of those released in 1915 (I think) jumped out at me: “Her Marble Heart.”

Guess I wasn’t so original after all.

On This Date

At a certain point in my research I decided to make index cards that would allow me to keep track of the story on a day-to-day basis. I don’t know how many hundreds of them I ultimately filled out, but I do know that they served their purpose well. I went back to them often as I was trying to find the context in which certain events of the book took place.

Now that I’ve finished writing the book, I of course still have the cards. I’ve decided today to start sharing some of them, on the days to which they pertain.

The first comes from 1913.