Friday, January 20, 2006

Good word

"Most people are also scared of the act of writing; even the professional writer faces his daily task with a nervousness that never quite goes away."

William Zinsser, Writing with a Word Processor

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Regional cuisine

As regular readers know, I love barbecue -- which, because I am from Nashville, means smoked pulled pork. That means I'm always on the lookout for a new outlet when I visit my hometown, as I did last weekend.

But I wasn't expecting to find the stuff at the taco company. One of my favorite restaurants in high school was the San Antonio Taco Company, a Vanderbilt University hangout that has very good food at outrageously reasonable prices. So check out their build-your-own-taco menu, which features, among other dishes: the pulled pork fajita.

That, as they say in Nashville, is so Nashville.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More shameless self-promotion

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz asked me to join the committee choosing Madison's official song, in honor of the city's 150th birthday. I couldn't be more honored and delighted. There are many notables on the committee's roster, including the directors of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and a handful of Madison's most prominent musicians.

I already have a pretty good idea which song ought to be the official one, but I'm entering this project with an open mind.

Read all about it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Every day I write

A big fat envelope came in the mail today, and what do you suppose it was? My book! Yes, friends, yours truly has now been published in book form, and they can't take that away from me.

The tome in question is 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, to which dozens of writers contributed short tributes to great records. A sequel of sorts to 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, 1001 Albums is published by Britain's Quintet Publishing, and according to the Amazon entry, it's due out Feb. 7.

It's funny how this all came about. My old grad school friend Alison, a Londoner, dates the book's project director. She knew I was always game for freelance writing work, and that I had expertise in country music. And so I joined the team -- one of the book's Leading International Critics, as the jacket says -- to review albums by the likes of Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings and Lucinda Williams.

My first book. Hot damn.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Greetings from Mt. Juliet

I write to you this morning from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., an eastern suburb of Nashville. I lived here my senior year of high school, after my family and I emigrated from the Music City.

I always love coming home, not least because there are so many marvelous sights and stories. I'll tell you about just two of them for now.
  • Near Mt. Juliet is the city of Lebanon, the seat of Wilson County. My parents and I drove through Lebanon yesterday, and Dad pointed out one of the distinctive local businesses: a store that sells Bibles and used household appliances. On the sign out front is a scriptural reference to the Gospel of Luke, but not the actual scripture. For that, you'll have to come inside.
  • My stepmother tells me that when she was a girl, her father fried Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the family breakfast. Hot doughnuts now, indeed.

I'll have more to say about my trip after I get home. Love ya!