As many novels as I've published recently, there are many others I haven't (yet), and may never publish, for various reasons - too personal, too unpolished, too lazy, etc. You can get a taste of some of my early work, when I aspired to be a serious "literary" author like my former idol J. D. Salinger, with two radio programs adapted from unpublished material, now available for your listening pleasure, courtesy of Soundcloud. Both shows were professionally produced and broadcast by KPFA, based in Berkeley, CA.
First, there's Neon Rose, my painfully autobiographical 1989 novel written after I went to visit my natural mother in Brooklyn, New York. She suffered from schizophrenia, and was a virtual stranger to me. I also visited my high school sweetheart in New Jersey, now a nurse in Philadelphia, with whom I'd had a star-crossed affair when she came to visit me in San Francisco. This 45 minute segment captures both of these elements, which were later recycled for the Vic Valentine novel Romance Takes a Rain Check (now available). The live reading was part of KPFA's "Morning Reading" program, originally broadcast, as I recall, in January, 1990. The producer apparently thought the book was about to be published, though for various reasons, it remains buried in my closet, perhaps never to see the light of day. Except for this excerpt. Listen to Neon Rose online here.
|My first published short story, Berkeley's Daily Californian, 8/28/87|
Next is Shadow Music, a more ambitiously executed radio play with music, sound effects, and several actors, produced by Vinnie Beachum, adapted from my 1992 novella, and broadcast on December 2, 1996, when I was working as a video clerk at Movie Image in downtown Berkeley. It's a much more mature work, I think, and echoes of the plot, about people who can hear celestial music coming from an unknown source, first introduced in a published short story of mine called "Night Notes," later resounded in my recent novel A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge. In fact, "Night Notes," which appeared in a literary 'zine out of Arizona called Expression, was set at The French Hotel, where I worked as a desk clerk, and which served as inspiration for the setting of my recent novella Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room. Anyway, this particular radio program, and the writing, really hold up, I think. You can check out Shadow Music online here.
|The first "Thrillville"at the Parkway poster, when the show was called "The Midnight Lounge", 1997|
Listening to these shows again, digitally transferred from ancient cassette tapes, preserved for posterity and uploaded online for mass consumption, really brought me back to my literary roots, making me feel a bit melancholy, since my youthful ambitions have not yet been fully realized, but also making me feel like I've come full circle, finally pursuing and achieving my dreams. Anyway, I hope you take the time to appreciate these spoken word relics, created long before there was a Thrillville, or a Parkway. I really think you'll enjoy them. Cheers.