Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstam, dead at age 73

For the second time this month, the writing community lost another giant. David Halberstam, one of journalism’s real treasures, was killed in a car crash in San Francisco, on Monday. He was 73.

Halberstam was a master at capturing the subtle nuances of whatever subject he chose to write about—sports, politics, war, the civil rights movement—setting him apart from the rest of his breed.

While not exclusively a sports guy, he was able to use athletics as a vehicle to get at the larger issues of the time he wrote about. Reading Halberstam helped ground us in the historical realities of the period he covered in each one of his 20 books. Rather than give his readers pap and nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, Halberstam the journalist, dug into his subjects and provided context.

Read the rest at Words Matter.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Meet RiverVision's newest author

[RiverVision Press (the small press I started back in 2005) is planning on releasing its second book, T.W. Moore’s book, I Love Today—Musings from New England. Here is a recent interview I conducted with Moore. Our release date for Moore's book is June 1st.]

RVP: We’re here with T.W. (Tom) Moore of Buxton, talking about his latest book, I Love Today—Musings from New England. Tom, thanks for coming in to discuss the book.

TWM: You’re welcome.

RVP: Tell us a little about the genesis of I Love Today—Musings from New England?

TWM: I Love Today—Musings from New England consists of a variety of poignant, but mostly humorous vignettes regarding everyday life in New England. I think most people will agree that New England carries with it a certain “mystique,” along with a somewhat “pastoral” or “the way life should be” connotation to it and it is this very essence that I tried to capture in my book.

RVP: In my reading of the manuscript, I immediately thought, “Chicken Soup for the Mainer’s Soul.” Do you think that’s an apt description of what you were aiming for?

TWM: That’s an excellent analogy. While experiencing life here in Maine, I felt that there were so many stories to be told—good stories that shed a little bit more light on life here in New England—stories that truly show the heart and soul of the people that work and play here.

Of course, I’ve added some of my own thoughts and observations, too!

RVP: I don’t know if I should let the “cat out of the bag” here, but you’re not from Maine, right? What brought you here and well, what turned you into such an enthusiast about our state, tucked away in the northernmost reaches of the New England region?

TWM: I have to admit that I am “from away.” I’ve been living in Maine for over six years now, but I began visiting this part of the country with my family many, many years ago. My mother-in-law used to live in North Conway and then for a while in Old Orchard Beach and once or twice a year, we’d pack up the car and drive up to visit. That was my first indoctrination to this region—beautiful mountains and the awesome coastal area. How could one not fall in love with a combination like that? From east to west, this region has a raw beauty that’s absolutely wonderful. When you think about it, we really do have it all here.

RVP: In your chapter, “Daddy’s Not So Little Girl,” you detail your daughter, Taryn’s evolution, from that sweet child who rushed to the fake, plastic cow at the Fryeburg Fair, to a teenager, who no longer wanted to wait in line for the opportunity to pat the cow and have her picture taken. It struck a nerve with me, as my son just graduated from college—I think you really latched on to a universal theme for parents—how to cope with our children’s growing up.

TWM: It is a universal theme—in fact, the title of the book says it all. Meaning it’s important to seize the day, seize the moment, because before you know it, your children have all grown up and moved out and started families of their own. It’s a very fast, complicated world out there today and again, I think that’s what makes this area so special—the fact that we’re not half as crowded or as populated as some of our more southern neighbors. I think this attribute naturally translates to a somewhat slower pace and hopefully this book will serve as a reminder to try and take advantage of that extra time and spend it with your kids—before they grow up and pass up the plastic cow!

RVP: So how are you coping with Taryn’s teenage years and the dreaded, boyfriend?

TWM: (laughs) So far—not so good! I mean she’s only 15 going on 25 and of course, I don’t want her to date until she’s at least 30! I’ve found that I’m way over-protective and usually end up making a fool of myself. Thank God my wife, LuAnn, is more level-headed about this particular subject and seems to have a much better handle on this boyfriend/girlfriend thing than I do!

RVP: I really like how your essays flow thematically, from “Life, Love & Children,” to coping with “Holidays,” your section on “Heroes” is very poignant and you don’t miss sports (“How Sporting of You!”) and of course the final section, “Shopping and Taxes.” Is there some philosophical message for readers here?

TWM: With a few exceptions, it’s to try and find humor in our everyday lives. But a lot of it also goes back to that central theme: love today, love every moment and learn to cherish every breath you take, because the world out there is such a complicated, crazy place that you never know what might happen from one day to the next or what the future holds….So you may as well keep a sense of humor and live life to its fullest!

RVP: Since we mentioned sports and it’s April (although with this last snowfall, it doesn’t seem like it), all thoughts in New England turn to the Red Sox. Any thoughts or even more bold, predictions for this summer’s version of New England’s team?

TWM: Oh, we’re definitely going all the way this year! Especially with the recent addition of the fifty-million dollar man, Dice-K. Anyway, I unfortunately can’t say we’re still tied for first place because we just lost the opener, but up until we won the World Series a few years ago, everyone in the entire New England area claimed we were going all the way for 86 straight years, so this time of year—hope springs eternal!

Speaking of eternal, one of the stories in the book deals with that very subject—about how Major League Baseball recently signed a venture with the funeral industry where you can actually emblazon your favorite team’s logo on the side of your casket!

I say sign me up—but not just yet!

RVP: You’ve been freelancing for awhile and I know a version of many of these essays first appeared in Maine’s largest daily newspaper. Any other projects in the works beyond I Love Today—Musings from New England?

TWM: My next book project is a supernatural thriller titled Circle of Stones. This is a story about a young teenage girl who befriends two mystical wolves in the northern woods of New Hampshire. I’m very excited about it.

RVP: Tom, it’s been a pleasure. I know we’re very excited that you’ve chosen RiverVision Press to handle your book. Our plans are for a June 1st release date and we’re going to do our best to run you out there to bookstores, libraries and wherever to share your great stories about the unique and sometimes quirky qualities that constitute a life lived in the northernmost state in New England.

TWM: Thank you. Believe me, the pleasure has been all mine. Because this is my first book project, I didn’t really know what to expect and RiverVision Press has made the entire process not only very enjoyable, but quite painless as well. I’m looking forward to getting out there and sharing these stories with the great people of Maine!

[You can find RiverVision Press books, including our award-winning first release, When Towns Had Teams, at most of Maine's independent booksellers, all Mr. Paperback locations, as well as the Borders stores in Bangor and South Portland.]