I'm not well-known, at least not in Minnesota and not on public radio, but August 19 is my 65th birthday. Here is my addendum to Writer's Almanac:
|One of my favorites.|
Today is the birthday of the novelist and podcaster Joe Cottonwood (books by this author), born in Washington D.C. (1947). His father was a chemist who loved the cheap paperbacks of the 1950s — detective stories and soft core porn — with their immodest cover art and equally immodest prose. To the son, from grade school through high school these books were like wallpaper: normal, comfy, home. Inadvertently they also served as sex education and literary training, some of which had to be unlearned.
After working 30 years in the building trades, Cottonwood wrote a novel, Clear Heart, about a crew of carpenters. He recorded the novel as a serialized audiobook and released it as a free podcast. Reading aloud came as a revelation: a rediscovery of literature as an oral tradition. He says, "I realized that I have been writing podcast novels for the last 30 years, just waiting for podcasts to be invented."
Cottonwood now has 5 podcast audiobooks available (free on iTunes), and is working on a sixth. He lives in La Honda, California where he is the founder and emcee of what has become a fixture in the town: Lit Night, a monthly meeting in a bar where people read at an open mic to celebrate local writing and the oral tradition — and have a good time.