I was thrilled to be interviewed by Bob Balogh on Community Television of the Southern Berkshires last month. I had toothpaste on my sweater but Bob didn't mind. What a guy.
I had to ask a bunch of people for 'blurbs' for THE DURATION. It's a shitty task but not as shitty as providing the blurb. People are busy and have their own stuff to do and they might not even like the book, but they feel compelled by friendship or good manners to give you something that is short, sweet and laudatory. Sometimes, as in my case, the writing in the blurbs is a lot better than the writing in the book itself.
One of my asks was the writer and Submittable head honcho Michael FitzGerald. I met Mike once at Jim Ruland's Vermin on the Mount reading series back in the old days when it was held at the Mountain Bar on Gin Ling Way in LA's Chinatown. Mike wrote RADIANT DAYS, a novel about an expat cohort in Budapest in the 90s. It's a gorgeous and mesmerizing book, written in a way that makes it super-accessible while also just radiating intelligence. Mike's a sharp dude. I don't think he's been writing a ton lately because he's been inventing and running a giant data management platform that is making him rich, probably, and it was in the middle of this running that I asked him for a blurb.
Because he's a good guy, he didn't say no. Because he's busy, he got to it a bit late. But he sent in a selection and I love them so much I'm going to put them below. It's nice to have acquaintances like these.
"Prior to David Fromm’s The Duration Western Massachusetts was almost exclusively known for its brilliant foliage. That is about to change.”
“A brilliant, hilarious, and furiously-paced examination of the friendships of our youth being trampled by the banal and corrupt rhinoceros of adult life. Like childhood friendships and drug addiction, this book will stick with you. ”
“Western Massachusetts never felt more like Narnia as seaweed wraps, software geniuses, drug addiction, rhinoceroses and Bollywood celebrities come together to solve a decades’ old mystery and try to save a friend from himself.”
“In Fromm’s brilliant comic mystery, The Duration, we experience the heartbreak and exhilaration of true friendship.”
My wife's cousin Ben Marlowe is an artist and graphic designer. I guess. He does a lot of things. Music videos. Animation. He has skillz to pay the bills, as the kids say. Do the kids still say that? Anyway, Ben is a creative force and way back before I had a publisher for THE DURATION I was thinking of going the guerilla route and asked Ben to design some covers for me. My vision was of a small town with a rhino horn sort of erupting into its midst through the layers of the past, like a "the past won't stay buried" sort of vibe. I sent Ben a pencil sketch and he turned out nearly two dozen drafts, all of which were great. When I hooked up with Tyrus, they wound up going a slightly different direction with the cover, which is fine. I love the current cover. But I love Ben's covers too. Here are a few.
In 1993 I went to Prague to play hoop for a year or two. I kept a journal that eventually became my first book, Expatriate Games. When the book was coming out I needed some images for potential covers, so I contacted a pal of mine from the old days, a guy named Jack Levy, who'd stayed in Prague after all of the rest of us had washed out, and made a life there. He went out and took a bunch of great photos of basketballs in Prague, on bridges, on car roofs, on cobblestones and stairs and statues. My publisher never used them, but I owe Jack a beer for doing it.
In 1851, a circus came to the Berkshires. The star of the show was a 33yo Indian elephant named Columbus. Somewhere up north, maybe near Adams, the elephant stumbled and shattered a forelock or something. He limped 15 miles down into Lenox and collapsed at the bottom of Old Stockbridge Road.
Columbus was old. He'd been around the block a few times and he had some blood on his tusks. When he went down, the circus folks left him where he lay. What does that mean? That means that there is a giant elephant skeleton buried in the woods in Lenox. Some folks think they know where it is. But as of today it remains a mystery.