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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Groovy Giveaway: Kenneth M. Walsh's Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?



Courtesy of Magnus Books, this week's Groovy Giveaway is two copies of Kenneth M. Walsh's memoir, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?

In the summer of '77, while other boys in the Midwest were busy playing Little League and flocking to see Star Wars, young Kenny Walsh was obsessed with Chris Evert and Woody Allen movies — and daydreamed about moving to New York City. But when his family headed west from the suburbs of Detroit to Phoenix, it was the first in a series of events that set his Big Apple ambitions on the wrong course.

In this funny and moving memoir, Walsh recounts an idiosyncratic childhood that included an attempt to track down a crazed serial killer, a First Amendment battle with his fourth-grade principal, running the local KKK (that’s Kenny’s Kid Kare) babysitting service — and the mysterious disappearance of his father.

Post-college jobs took him to Hollywood and Washington, D.C. — where trouble followed (porn stars, doppelgängers, anxiety disorders) — but he still didn’t feel at home. Walsh finally arrived in Manhattan the week of his thirty-first birthday … but was tomorrow as wonderful as he dreamed it would be?

And here to tell us more about his book is author Kenneth M. Walsh:

What inspired you to write a memoir?
Over the past 15 years or so I have become a huge memoir fan, almost to the exclusion of everything else. So when I started blogging, I would occasionally write little stories from my childhood and life in New York, perhaps inspired by the things I had been reading by David Sedaris and Jeannette Walls. At some point Augusten Burroughs' agent came across something I wrote and contacted me to say he thought I was funny, and he wondered if I "had a book." Once this happened, writing a full-length memoir became a bit of an obsession, but then life got in the way. And when I say life, I mean a good life - a boyfriend, a dream job, my blog took off, I was finally living in my dream city and loving every second of it. But when my dream job turned into a nightmare - I got laid off by my beloved New York Times - I decided that was the perfect opportunity to finally buckle down and really get working on the book.

What are three of your favorite things about living in New York City?
I love Central Park. I always say I hate the outdoors, but that's not entirely true. I just hate being in the middle of nowhere and not being able to get a coffee whenever I want it. Central Park is the perfect compromise: you can be hanging out with friends on this huge lawn surrounded by the most beautiful trees and water yet still see the Essex House out of the corner of your eye - heaven! I've always hated driving and car ownership, so the subway is something about New York City that I also really appreciate. And lastly, I love how you can be in a city with more than eight million people, yet it feels like Small Town, USA. It doesn't matter where I go - Wall Street, the Upper East Side or anywhere in between - I invariably run into someone I know. When I lived in the 'burbs of Phoenix and Detroit, that almost never happened. It's counterintuitive, but true. And I love that sense of community.

What have you enjoyed most about your blog, kenneth in the (212), since you began writing it in 2005?
I love that it's opened the door for me to meet so many creative types - filmmakers, musicians, other writers and bloggers. I've made some of my best New York friends through my blog. I also love meeting readers. Every so often someone will come up to me on the street or in a movie and say hi. I can't tell you how much I enjoy it - especially when someone says they relate to one of my humiliating stories or strange obsessions.

What have been your favorite pop culture experiences of 2014 so far?
Well, as with my reading, my movie-going is primarily nonfiction, too. So far I think Anita, I Am Divine and the Elaine Stritch documentary, Shoot Me, are the best films I have seen. And in music, I am known for being hopelessly stuck in the '80s, but I have recently discovered the Chvrches album, The Bones of What You Believe, as well as Best Coast and Sky Ferreira. All these may have technically come out in 2013, but for me this is really impressive. On television, I have been thoroughly hooked on the final season of Mad Men and was just discovering Getting On before they went and pulled it off HBO On-Demand and ruined everything.

To enter to win this Groovy Giveaway, email your name and address to deepdishdrama@aol.com. The winners must have a US mailing address, and entries close at midnight on Thursday, May 15 (CST).

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