My book in the 33 1/3 series, Sam Cooke: Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963, came out today. I didn't realize this was happening until last night. I just create. And I don't deal in a lot else. Especially with where things stand right now. I don't have a copy of the book myself. I didn't even confirm my address until last night, so that they could send me some copies. It's like when I had fiction in Harper's a few years back. I never looked at it. Because I knew, in my world, that there would be more bad stuff as a result of that achievement. It was going to go differently for me, because of who I am, than it would have for any other author. And that's exactly what happened. Things got harder. They got worse. I've still never looked at the issue. It'd be nice to feel good and celebrate achievements and amazing works coming into the world, but that's just not how things stand at the moment. To be honest, I've had galleys of a book of fiction of mine that is publishing in January sitting here in an envelope for a couple months, and I haven't had the heart to even open it. I'm really just dead with no chance before I start right now. What I end up doing is just trying to keep going. To fight through. Having faith that I will get through. In the meanwhile, I create.
But this is my first music book, which I guess is ironic, because music was the first thing I wrote about in a professional capacity. It's what I focused on writing in college, when I didn't go to class, when academia was holding me back. I am proud of the work. I think it's an epic music book, and in some ways more than a music book while being a music book. I wanted it to be something that stands on its own as a work. I wanted it to be powerful. And I think I did achieve that. I wanted it to be this fascinating insight into Cooke the writer, the singer--which went hand in hand--and to discuss him as no one ever had, and I also wanted it to be its own work of art. I wanted it to appeal to music people--hardcore music fans, and passing music fans--but I also wanted it to hit people hard, and people who didn't care about Cooke or soul music or Civil Rights anthems. I wanted it to be for everyone, in a true and human way. So that's what the thinking was. But that's always what the thinking is for me, regardless of the nature of the work, what some people will call the genre, or subject. It's the same with this Cooke book as it is "Upon Become a Ghost," Anglerfish, a Beatles piece, a personal essay.
Yesterday I got up at 430 and started work, and went until 230, then back up and at it today at 630. I have so much to do in the next few days, for another book, among other things. Someone did text me this morning a little after 7, congratulating me on this latest book, saying they couldn't wait to read it. That was nice of them to make the point of doing that. I am still human, you know?
So it's out, and it's available wherever one likes to get their books, and I hope people will read it and enjoy it, be moved by it. I like the cover. They follow a model in the design with the series, but I'm happy with the pink, I think that was a good choice. It plays off that neon (and the cover itself, you could say, is written into the book, but you'd have to see what I mean by that). There are multiple editions of this record, but the album cover you see here is from the initial 1985 release. The show that the record documents was from January 12, 1963, but the tapes were shelved for over twenty years. You might say that they were considered too "real." Something to think about there.