In the course of the occasional interview (but more often when involved in a random conversation with a person who displays a general interest in my new book, Eyeblack Odyssey), I have been known to get some variation of the following question: “What’s the greatest/biggest/funniest/whatever most thing that happened to you on your trips?”
I hadn’t ever given it much thought.
This blog post is me giving it some thought.
The problem with such a question is it excludes so much. To answer it, to truly come up with something you enjoy about your book more than anything else, you’re basically taking a gigantic dump on the rest of it. I mean, sure, you could give some half-ass non-answer about the whole experience being enjoyable, and blah blah blah, but really, that’s crap. You’ve got some favorite aspects. You always do.
I could talk about the humor, which I think hits the mark about 20 percent of the time — not a stellar batting average, of course, but still pretty good for me. And more to the point, if I can get someone to laugh 20 percent of the time in my day-to-day efforts, I’m really kicking some ass at being funny. If the book can equal that, it’s doing what it needs to be doing … and that makes me proud.
Of course, that’s sorta vague and non-answery. But being specific doesn’t do a whole lot of good either. Just saying Lafitte’s Treasures were the bomb is not enough. There’s no context there. Even mentioning their blue latex uniforms isn’t enough. I mean, how is that representative of the book at large? (Okay, it is, but let’s pretend there’s something more here…)
So I think for me the difference must be split. And to be able to do that, I must provide a specific example AND explain why that example rocks. So with that said, my favorite part of the Eyeblack Odyssey was drinking beer in the rain in Lafayette.
Firstly, it was beer at a football game. This cannot be understated.
Secondly, K-State was playing, and it was my first K-State game in two years. This also cannot be understated.
But of course there’s more to it than that. Bill Snyder was back coaching K-State, and watching the old man on the sidelines was something I had long since decided wasn’t something I was ever going to see again. And yet there it was, happening right in front of me. The game was terrible, the weather was worse … and none of it really mattered. I was back in my happy place, watching Snyder and the Cats, drinking beer, and enjoying Daniel Thomas and his jump-passes.
The idea of finding one’s own bliss in the college football experience is big for me. And I lived it that night. I would never go around saying that that night was the point of the entire experience, but it was definitely a fun bit of nonsense, and if THAT doesn’t describe the book, I don’t know what does.
Eyeblack Odyssey: A fun bit of nonsense.