While signing books during recent Long Beds events, I had several people ask me about the book Off Main Street. It was published between Population 485 and Truck: A Love Story, and like the quiet kid in a big family, sometimes gets lost over there in the corner–and yet if it wasn’t for Off Main Street, those other books wouldn’t have happened, because it’s a collection of the essays and nonfiction magazine pieces I was writing in the years when I was just surviving on freelance magazine work (and used car and frozen pizza ads). It’s also the source of the most popular “live” piece I perform: the dreaded kidney stone story.
Subjects addressed include: Rural moonshots, Rolling Thunder, how my nursing degree shapes my writing, baldness, letters from the KKK, Elvis, country music bus drivers, manure spreaders, small-town funerals, small-town water towers, Big Boy, Steve Earle, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and existentialist cowboys. And more.
Finally, the introduction to Off Main Street includes my description of how my first paperback book tour went. Not a lot has changed, although it’s been a while since I’ve had to write an article in a laundromat in the company of a man wearing no pants.
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