Friday, July 3, 2020

The University of Iowa Press, with the Writing University, has been reaching out to its authors to gain perspective, advice, humor and connection. We want to know how they are doing, first and foremost: we are primarily checking in. But we also want to know how they are living (or surviving, or managing) with the pandemic that surrounds all of us. We are a family here -- the press, the authors, the university -- and this is what families do: we check in.

Today's  author conversation came from Chris Gavaler. Chris Gavaler is associate professor of English at Washington and Lee University. He is author of On the Origin of Superheroes (University of Iowa Press), Superhero Thought Experiments (University of Iowa Press) and is the comics editor of Shenandoah.

Gavaler wrote UI Press marketing director Allison Means about his daily life during the pandemic:

1. What book(s) do you recommend for this time of isolation?

Lesley Wheeler’s new poetry collection The State She’s In and Lesley Wheeler’s new novel Unbecoming. (Being a skilled poet and a skilled novelist is extreme, but releasing two books during the chaos of lockdown is more extreme.)

2. What are 3 good things that happened today?

A literary agent in London wants to represent my graphic novel. I extended my daily run from three to four miles. The Red Hen does takeout now.

3. What is your isolation playlist? (Could be a list, screenshot of your spotify playlist or link, etc.)

I’m so ancient I listen to CDs. Saint-Germain Des-Pres Cafe: Anthology, an amazing four-disc compilation of “Nu Jazz” (stupid term, great sounds), has been spinning since my governor announced lockdown. The series launched in 2001 and lasted a decade. I’m hopeful CV-19 will be shorter.

4. Could you share an image of your new “coworker(s)” (pets, kids, etc.) or your new "office" (my desk is literally in a closet)?

Zoom has inspired my digital art. This is an adaptation of screenshots from a board meeting of my local activist group, 50 Ways Rockbridge, which we’ve converted to CV-19 community response. I made it in MS Paint (see “ancient” above):


5. Do you have a writing prompts you could share to inspire us?

The ghost hovering over your shoulder joyfully anticipates the word you’re about to type.



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Photo by Galina N on Unsplash