So You Specialize in Nostalgia?
I’ve written a few dozen songs in my life but only a handful would be considered funny. One of these is called “Talking Kidney Surgery Blues” and it’s about my bizarre trip to a big-city hospital back in 1991. Another is called “Ballad of Stall Number Four” and it’s the true-life story of a co-worker who was either really uncoordinated or really passive-aggressive because he always peed all over the toilet seat in the fourth stall of the men’s restroom.
Only when I performed both these numbers at a comedy show did I realize that I had accidentally come to specialize in urologically-themed novelty songs.
That’s sort of what happened with my first two novels. When people ask what I write, I tell them I write mainstream or literary fiction—and as it happens these first two novels are heavily dosed with nostalgia. The Fraternity looks back at college life in the late 1970s while Trombone Answers follows a character through junior high and high school in 1972-78.
I didn’t set out to write a couple of nostalgic books, but those were the stories that needed to be written at the time.
In the next novel, The Rocheville Devil, we meet a character whose obsession with the romantic innocence of his childhood, specifically his time at Rocheville Elementary, threatens his own sanity. While the book itself isn’t nostalgic, this character is dangerously immersed in it.
I suppose you could look at The Rocheville Devil as the last in a backwards trilogy. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a pre-school novel in me anywhere.
But you never know.