Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a moment in the day: tom

It's Friday at work, and I'm at my desk with the earphones on, the weird ones that hook over your ears and hang across the back of your head. Plugged into the computer under my desk. They give me a slight headache but the sounds in my ears - the sweeps of big band, the Helen Kane boop-a-doops, the sparkling rain of Fats Waller's piano - make my brain happy as I edit my spreadsheets. My every Friday task, preparing the chosen titles to go up as New Favorites the coming Tuesday at Powell's, with extra special placement and a 30% discount.

This time one of the titles is Tom's. Tuesday will be official launch day for I Loved You More, Tom Spanbauer's first novel in seven years, published by my favorite publishing company, Hawthorne Press. I'm so excited I could jump up and dance, my head with the headphones on it yanking the computer clean out from under the desk, to drag behind me, across the floor of the Marketing Department, and play Ginger Rogers to my Fred Astaire.

Seven years - has it really been that long? I've listened to what seems like every word of this book come out of Tom's mouth, the group of us sitting around his basement table on Thursday nights. Years of Thursday nights as he wrote and edited and perfected this thing, sharing pieces with us at the end of workshop whenever there was time. All of us listeners felt like each note of his novel's music, each jot of his incredibly honed skill was ours in that basement because he gave it to us first.

This really is mine, this little moment, my fingers on the computer keys, putting his name in spreadsheets. The spreadsheet that I will send out to the merchandisers who will display the book. The spreadsheet that I will send out to the computer guy who will put the book on sale. The spreadsheet that I will forward to the graphic designers who will make a slide for our website and shelf talkers to sit under the stacks in the stores. Each shelf talker has a staff pick blurb, and guess who got to write Tom's.

No one is better than Tom Spanbauer at exposing the hidden pain inside us. In I Loved You More, he reaches even deeper, plumbing the terror of death, love, AIDS, cancer, propinquity, and the complex business of being a man in the world.

As I type his name into my spreadsheet, the song in my ears is Lulu's Back in Town.


Check it out on Powells.com here.


  1. Spanbauer is a favorite at this house. I hope to meet him someday. Nice post!

  2. This is so beautifully and joyfully done, sweetie; beautiful piece of writing. : )

  3. Thanks, everyone. Threads of connection, yes. I'm thankful for all of them.