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.
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
“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.
This is one of the earlier items I found during my research, a simple ad for dressmaking. It was one of the first ways Mrs. Baker attracted people to her home.
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.