Things I’m Looking Forward to This Summer

I’ll be teaching my usual summer courses this year, though they’re starting a little later than they have in the past. Here at Mondoville, we typically have two summer terms, each about a month long. Because of the pandemic, our schedule got a bit bollixed, and we added a 1-month, online-only January term. This meant that the Spring Semester didn’t wrap until mid-May, and our regular 1-month May Term was pushed back as well. So instead of teaching through the month of June as is my habit, I’ll be doing it from mid-June to just after Independence Day.

As it happens, Mrs. M is teaching summer school this year (an effort the local schools are making to remediate kids who might have lost out when school was mostly to entirely virtual.) This means that she’ll be wrapping things up around the same time I will.

In turn, that means the most important aspect of our summer — our trip to Terpville to see the Spawn and Main Squeeze — will take place in High Summer indeed. But there’s other cool stuff coming as well.

El Bee will celebrate his 83rd birthday on 24 June, which since he already made it through his first set of three score and ten, should render him eligible for a second Bar Mitzvah. However, I’m sure he’d be just as happy if you were to pick up A Writer Prepares, his memoir of his early years and what he calls the apprenticeship of his writing career. As a matter of fact, the nice folks at the Associated Press interviewed my erstwhile colleague, and you can check that out here. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy, and I can say that even if Mr. B weren’t my friend, it would still be a pleasure to read, especially for those of us with an interest in genre publishing in the 50s and 60s. But even if you don’t have such an interest, it’s an interesting reflection on being a writer, and even on the process of memoir itself. You might want to go ahead and put in an advance order.

Toward the end of the summer, another of my favorite writers will be releasing a new novel. William Kotzwinkle (who without knowing it, helped introduce me to Mrs. M) has gone more than a decade since his previous novel, 2005’s quirky science fiction book The Amphora Project. Given that he seems to have found considerable success with his series of children’s books featuring a flatulent canine, I had figured that he might have retired from fiction for grown-ups. Fortunately, I was wrong. (FULL DISCLOSURE: Mr. Kotzwinkle and I have corresponded occasionally over the years, which has only served to make me like him even more.)

So at the end of August, we’ll be receiving Felonious Monk, and as a bonus (for me, anyway), it’s a crime novel. Per the Amazon blurb:

Meet Tommy Martini, the monk with an anger management problem. Since killing somebody with a single punch is not a needed talent in a monastery, he spends his time praying, meditating, and taking his anger management medicine. But his meditations are interrupted by a legacy from his uncle, a crooked priest. Arriving in a New Age Arizona town to claim his inheritance, Brother Tommy meets a charismatic, smoking-hot cult leader who claims that women are being impregnated by alien beings while they sleep. Tommy’s own sleep is disturbed — by cartel hitmen, Mafia bill collectors, and women intrigued by his vow of chastity. He loses his anger management medicine in time to deal with the hitmen, but the women present an uphill battle.

Now, screwball mysteries are nothing new for Kotzwinkle — his The Game of Thirty was an Edgar nominee, and his Midnight Examiner might be a hallucinogenic relative of Donald Westlake’s “Sara and Jack” novels. So I’m sure I’ll be in good hands when I meet Brother Tommy. Best of all, I notice that the book is described as “Book 1,” which implies at least the potential for others. Not to get greedy, but I can certainly hope.

On the musical front, I’m delighted to report that Art Bar, the venue that served as home for the Berries when that was a going concern, is returning to live music after the pandemic, and in late June, a friend of mine’s new band will make its debut. I plan to be there, and all this just makes me even more eager to get some musical things going myself.

Doubtless there will be other interesting stuff along the way. I look forward to telling you about it as it turns up. See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Things I’m Looking Forward to This Summer

  1. Thanks, as always, for the Very Kind Words, sir. And for the Kotzwinkle news. As you may know, The Felonious Monks was a proposed title for a Donald E. Westlake novel set in and around a monastery; he rejected it because the monks in his story were not in fact felonious, and opted instead for the title Brother Keepers. I found this a real case of straining at a gnat, if not a nit, and told Don he was the first person I’d ever known to have voluntarily surrendered his poetic license.

    Never mind. I’m glad the phrase is finally getting some titular use.

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