Monday, January 21, 2013

The Next Big Thing: A Bloggy Round Robin, from Karren Alenier to Yours Truly on World Waiting for a Dream

Karren Alenier
My amiga the DC-based poet and Gertrude Stein (and Paul & Jane Bowles) expert Karren Alenier tagged me for this blog round robin (I guess one could call it that), wherein one answers a set series of 10 questions about one's own work, then tags few more writers to carry on the following week.

>>Read Karren Alenier's blog post about her fascinating Next Big Thing, The Anima of Paul Bowleshere. (We almost coincided in Paul Bowles' workshop in Tangiers... she in 1982, me in 1983.)

And going back from there, check out previous blogger, Sammy Greenspan of Kattywompus Press, here.

This week, along with me, Karren Alenier tagged one of my favorite poets, Bernadette Geyer, who used her round robin to talk about her forthcoming book, The Scabbard of Her Throat.

Now for Yours Truly:

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

C.M. Mayo on Pinto Canyon Rd, south of Marfa, Texas
1. What is your working title of your book (or story)? 

World Waiting for a Dream: Travels in the Big Bend of Far West Texas

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? 

More than a decade ago I visited this jaw-dropping place and have yearned to explore and write about it ever since. Finally got around to it.

3. What genre does your book fall under? 
Travel memoir / creative nonfiction / literary journalism. 

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition
Tommy Lee Jones would have to make an appearance at some point. I wouldn't mind being played by Deanna Durbin bursting out in a rendition of "Grenada!" Just kidding. 

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 
In-progress, starts with Cabeza de Vaca, the conquisitor who got lost (really), works its way through Comaches and Apaches, railroads, the Mexican Revolution, the arrival of the wizard of cubes aka Donald Judd, scads more about Mexico and Mexicans than one might expect, OMG the sky, and OMG the sky at night, meditations on dinosaurs, et voila

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
Agency, but as I'm writing it I'm hosting a podcast series, Marfa Mondays: Exploring Marfa, Texas & Environs in 24 Podcasts 2012-2013. 

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
I'm not there yet. My goal is to finish the podcasts by the end of 2013 and then spend a year on the manuscript. 

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
It will be similar in structure and style to my previous travel memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California the Other Mexico (Milkweed Editions). And that was modeled on a mashup of V.S. Naipaul's A Turn in the South, and works by various other travel writers / literary journalists, among them, Sara Mansfield Taber, Ted Conover, Bruce Chatwin, Ian Frazier, Robert Byron, and Alma Guillermoprieto. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
I was born in the furthest west of Far West Texas (that would be El Paso) and I wanted to write about this part of the country that, because I grew up in California, I don't know all that well, at but mainly, it was just a strong intuition that this book needs to be written. And I'm curious enough to stay with it for as long as it takes.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? 
Have a listen to some of the podcasts. Many are interviews with artists and/or about remote and beautiful places such as Chinati Hot Springs. The area is also famous for its ghost lights which were noted by the Apaches more than a century ago. 

Listen in anytime.

P.S. I'll be reading from the work-in-progress this January 29 for PEN San Miguel in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Tagging for next week:

---> Rose Mary Salum

PS I tagged Deborah Batterman, but she declined because she'd already been tagged! Read about her Next Big Thing, Dancing Into the Sun, here.