This post is approximately 5 years in the making . . .
I’ve been an avid fan of writer Jonathan Carroll for the better part of ten years and have read almost everything the man has written. Although he’s relatively unknown in some literary circles he possesses an almost cult following for many readers, like me.
It was January 10, 2004 (my birthday) that I happened to find a rare book by Carroll floating about on Ebay.
It was called ‘The Panic Hand’, a collection of short fiction.
The item on Ebay was listed as ‘first edition, hardback, excellent condition’.
For whatever the reason, I had to have this book.
If you’re a reader, you understand the desire and obsession.
I began bidding and got into a war with someone that wanted the book almost as much as I did.
As I said, almost.
I was working that night and gave my wife instructions to place a bid of $60.00 about 30 seconds before the auction ended. If the book was destined to be mine, then so be it.
I ended up winning the auction and the book was mine.
I’m looking at it as I type this.
‘The Panic Hand’ has some of the best short fiction I think I’ve ever read especially a story called, ‘The Sadness of Detail’, my personal favorite.
Seeing that it was a first edition book, I wanted to have it signed and began looking for the next time Carroll would be in the states.
Sadly, I came up empty-handed and sent him an email inquiring about his schedule (and the fact that I had just purchased a first edition of said book and would love to have it signed).
To my surprise, I received a reply back from him that same afternoon.
He thanked me for writing and said that he didn’t get over to ‘this side of the pond’ too often seeing that he lives in Austria but suggested I keep an eye on his website for future visits.
In my email, I also mentioned how much I loved his story, ‘The Sadness of Detail’ asking where the inspiration came from. He wrote that the story was a ‘very old friend’ and one of his favorites but the inspiration for it escaped him at that time . . . but that he would be happy to sign the book should we ever meet.
Well, folks, next Tuesday night I’ll be going to Cambridge to the incredible Harvard Bookstore to listen to Carroll read from his new book, ‘The Ghost in Love’.
He’s doing a short Q&A session and a signing after that.
And yes, I plan on asking him about how he deals with ‘Writer’s Block’.
I will happily buy a copy of his new book and have it signed and hopefully be able to tell him just how much he’s inspired me in my own writing, although I write in a very different genre.
Then I will plead with him ask him to sign ‘The Panic Hand’ and hope he smiles.
Judging from the tone in his email, I should be one damn happy writer this time next Tuesday night.
Look for a follow up post.
If you haven’t read anything by this brilliant man, at least visit your local library and take something out.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Don’t sound too excited, do I?