reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 7

In November’s podcast, we discuss Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. We talk about pantheism and God-searching in the woods. We also have some fun and read one star reviews from Goodreads.

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 5

Radiant Child is a 2016 picture book by author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe.  It is a biography of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) whose work first appeared in NYC in the late 1970s.  In this month’s discussion, we talk about picturebooks as a form and the lives and work of both Basquiat and Steptoe, which overlap in several ways. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers & john Paul jaramillo episode 4

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

John Paul Jaramillo and Deborah Brothers sit for a 40 minute discussion of 2022’s novel Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. The August “Reading Books Together” podcast discusses young people and reading, historical fiction and Colorado history. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in creative writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos–a novel, and Carlos Montoya–a novel.

reading books together:  a podcast with deborah brothers & john paul jaramillo–episode 3 July 2022

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

Join John Paul Jaramillo and Deborah Brothers for a 30 minute discussion of Peter Wohlleben’s 2016 non-fiction work The Hidden Life of Trees. Our July “Reading Books Together” podcast dives into the mysteries of undisturbed forests and what author, a German forester, claims humans can learn about conservation, climate change, communication, and co-existence. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

reading books together:  a podcast with deborah brothers & john paul jaramillo–episode 1 may 2022

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

For their first foray into book review podcasts, Deborah Brothers and John Paul Jaramillo feature the 2021 novel by Canadian-American author Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness. They discuss aspects of postmodernism metafiction, Buddhism, and bildungsroman.  

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

quick review–the third policeman by flann o’brien

ThirdPolicemanSuch an odd and strange little book from O’Brien. What I liked: Definitely not a book you can easily categorize. The plot was meandering–more so than At Swim Two Birds–and completely unpredictable. A place wholly away from reality was the setting, and late in the novel we learn the “place” of the novel was a type of hell. Again, a novel reminding me of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks–an exploration of a created place parallel to reality trapping guilty souls. As multi-dimensional as a book can become–an exploration of time, place and dimension. I very much like the spirit behind the line, “A journey is an hallucination.” 

 

little mocos a novel in stories–book soundtrack–parts 1 and 2

Put together a quick listing of song titles I think work with each chapter of my book. Saw a few other writers I admire do this and so I thought I would try. More and more I like the idea of a movie-style book soundtrack. And I am finding this a fascinating exercise. Many of these titles are songs I listened to while drafting and revising and many I found recently as many of the characters and chapters refer to films and or songs in dialogue.

Ch 1 Animales has a very strong Los Lobos influence because I admire them so much. This is a bluegrass tribute I find beautiful:

Ch 2 Relles’ Boy and Ch 3 Little Mocos were both heavily influenced by Good Morning Azlan. I listened to this album nearly consistently for weeks as I drafted and re-drafted these early chapters.

Ch 4 Cornbread is all about the notorious criminal though I chose a upbeat track–maybe because I have so much sympathy or empathy with his character. Also the narrator has so much joy and love in learning about the man. Also the track is very quick and the chapter was meant to be this way–quick and elliptical–bopping from sad and funny story to sad and funny story.

Ch 5 Birthdays introduces the old folks or the grandparent characters back in their day–someone mentions Wheel of Fortune at the birthday–las dias–and the band I imagine would play this during the festivities. Also the family at the party sing together as I remember the old folks doing and I imagine them singing “de colores”:

Ch 6 Bear and Peaches is about a husband and wife feuding so the Hank Williams track is something the old folks might’ve listened to on the radio. I was actually amazed how popular Hank Williams was with the old folks:

Ch 8 Dogtrack is about the uncle who is a bad influence on his crew of boys and so I like that Emeterio might be listening to Al Hurricane on the truckito radio traveling out to the dog track:

Ch 7 and and Ch 9 are war stories essentially and the boys ask if the experience were similar to The Longest Day. This is a film I remember watching as a kid and thinking this was what military service was though the stories in the book contrast the film.

Ch 10 belongs to the crew of boys and so the child version of Las Mananitas seemed appropriate:

Ch 11 follows Emeterio’s downfall and he mentions drinking and partying as the fruits of his labor:

Ch 12 This feud between brothers ends with Emeterio going to jail and the other Santiago left alone to deal with family and bills. It also ends with a street fight and so this War track seemed appropriate.

a raisin in the sun

D and I escaped from the election and Trump fallout and enjoyed the Hoagland Center for the Arts’ presentation of A Raisin in the Sun. I’ve always enjoyed Lorraine Hansberry‘s family drama and the production had some strong performances. I found the play to be a very timely message on standing up and facing injustice as well as personal failings.

the house of order now available on kindle and smashwords

available now on kindlesmashwords

Jaramillo - Cover - Final.inddThe House of Order–stories, the first collection of composite stories by John Paul Jaramillo, presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

2013 International Latino Book Award Finalist–The Mariposa Award–Best First Book–Fiction

Latino Stories.com 2013 Top Ten “New” Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)

hating writing

In the article “10 Famous Writers Who Hated Writing” from The Huffington Post, Bill Cotter discusses his “dark feelings” regarding what he labels as “the commission of the act of writing.” He lists quotes from famous authors revealing their angst on the very act of writing and he also discusses the problem of his own inarticulateness. And I must agree when Cotter jokes he would rather go to the emergency room rather than have a writing commitment.

And the more I teach the more I empathize with my first year students and concerns over writing and composing essays. I often say their concerns as writers are very similar to my own. Even in creative writing, my chosen field of study, I feel students have a point when they complain over drafting basic components of a short story assignment. I am just as susceptible to internet distractions and slothful tendencies. And I often dread approaching the work of revision.

Currently, I have a novel I’ve been wrestling with. I also have a novel I’ve been chipping away at for years. And perhaps the more you know about writing the more you are jammed up. The more I teach and learn the more I am self-critical and also I over-think the simplest of revision exercises. And maybe I am just reaching the age of worry over my talent if I have any and the limitations of talent. Perhaps subconsciously I worry about not fully developing as a writer. More and more I have broad stories with broad notes–more free writing really. And I struggle just to get my broadest thoughts down on the page regarding scenes or characters. Sometimes I just type where I want a character to go or what I want them to do and I have no way to get them there. I often say that writers suffer more from inarticulateness than most others. Lately I’ve been joking I would rather work with dogs or own a bed and breakfast than sit and work. I’d rather sit and watch MST3K.

This all reminds me of a George Orwell quote:

“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”–George Orwell

Perhaps the difficulty of writing–the illness in composing and revising–is what makes it great. PS: It took me hours to write this.