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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Live Cargo on WYPR’s The Signal

Earlier this year I read an abridged version of “Live Cargo” from Tracks: A Novel in Stories on Baltimore’s NPR station, WYPR.

WYPR’s The Signal is a weekly radio magazine that explores Maryland’s thriving artistic and cultural scene and is produced by Aaron Henkin and Lisa Morgan and hosted by Andy Bienstock.

“Live Cargo” is the story of a Holocaust survivor who fulfills her husband’s dying wish by taking the train to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is part of Tracks: A Novel in Stories, which is set on a train from Baltimore to Chicago. Here’s how WYPR describes “Live Cargo.”

It’s the story of a survivor – and that survivor’s memories – so please be advised that the following does include some grim details.  The story also includes strength, and hope…”

Hop aboard at http://programs.wypr.org/podcast/genie-wishes-crownsville-cemetery-and-%E2%80%98human-cargo%E2%80%99. My reading is about 31 minutes into the program.

Here’s the plug from The Signal’s website:

“In observance of Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day – writer Eric D Goodman joins us with the story of a survivor’s pilgrimage to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.”

Listen now at http://programs.wypr.org/podcast/genie-wishes-crownsville-cemetery-and-%E2%80%98human-cargo%E2%80%99

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dialogue with Dutch: Remembering Elmore Leonard

The literary world has suffered a loss with the death of Elmore Leonard at age 87. It seems fitting that at the time of the death he was working on his 45th novel. Writing was what he liked to do, and he did it well.

In 2008, I was the public relations director for the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference. It was in that capacity that I was introduced to Elmore Leonard, who preferred to be called “Dutch.”

Oh, I had known Elmore Leonard for years, through his writing and through movies based on his writing. I’d enjoyed reading Swag and Rum Punch, The Hot Kid and Glitz. And I’d enjoyed movies like 3:10 to Yuma and Get Shorty. I’m probably one of the few people who thinks Jackie Brown (based on Rum Punch) was one of Tarantino’s better movies.

So I already knew that Elmore Leonard was a master of sparse, concise writing and witty, realistic dialogue. His gritty characters and colorful stories put you there as it happened. He was a writer’s writer who wrote because he loved to write.

Awards showered him, one of them being the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award, which brought me into contact with him. In accepting the award, he joined a legacy of other FSF honorees, including John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer, E.L. Doctorow, Ernest J. Gaines, Edward Albee, William Styron, William J. Kennedy, and Pat Conroy.

What I learned during the weekend that I met Elmore Leonard in person was that Dutch was as great a guy as he was a writer. Success had not gone to his head. He was down to earth, approachable, even deflecting attention by complimenting me and others he talked with during the reception and conference and dinner. He was a gentleman. His mastery of dialogue made him a great conversationalist. (Or maybe it was the other way around.)

Yesterday I pulled down several of my inscribed Elmore Leonard novels to read his notes of encouragement, and to decide which one to read next. And the copy of his 10 Rules, which you can find here.

Join Dutch at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference here:


And, for old time’s sake, here’s my original writeup announcing Elmore Leonard as the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald honoree:

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Monday, August 05, 2013

Where in the World was Eric D. Goodman?

I’m back in Baltimore at the moment, but I spent an enjoyable two weeks scurrying around Scandinavia and bounding through the Baltics.
In Helsinki, Finland, we went to prison (our hotel was a prison until the early 2000s), visited Uspenski and Helsinki Cathedrals, did Senate Square, and took in a world-class cello concert with David Geringas and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra at Temppeliaukio Church or “Church of the Rock” (literally built out of solid rock).
In Stockholm, Sweden, we spent a good amount of time in Gamla Stan, or old town, and paid visits to the monarchy at the Royal Palace and Drottingholm Palace. The art museums and cultural museums in Stockholm were wonderful, but the most unusual and memorable museum was the Vasa Museet—housing the 17th century wooden warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 (before ever getting to sea). After more than 300 years underwater, the ship was salvaged and has become one of Stockholm’s most popular destinations.
We began and ended our own voyage in Tallinn, Estonia. The oldest capitol city in Northern Europe, Tallinn boasts one of the most preserved old towns in the world, with stone walls and passages and towers everywhere the eye can see. The city dates back to 1154, and it reminded me a little of Prague. There are plenty of museums and sights to see in Tallinn, but the nice thing about the place is that outside the few hours each afternoon that the tour ships are there, it still has the look and feel of an old medieval town, and everywhere you turn there is a picturesque view.
I hope to write about our travels in Estonia, Finland, and Sweden in the near future. In the meantime, read about another eastern European city in my travel story “Vodka in the Sun.” This serialized visit to St. Petersburg (as well as Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod) was published in Coloquio. The story was originally published in Travel Insights.