Walking for Profit

Last weekend I was at Barnes and Noble when I found the book, Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport by Matthew Algeo. I came running over to my wife, who was in the children’s section with our one year old and showed her a book with five Victorian-era athletes in ridiculous garb.

I said, “I found my next interview.”

Mr. Algeo, who is in Mongolia, was very gracious and we set up a Skype interview. Because it was Skype, I set up two separate recorders, one for Skype and one for myself — I found that Skype recorder programs provide too much of an echo. While the author comes in clear, I am a bit on the fuzzy side — but I think it sounds ok anyway.

The book, which is about competitive walking races in the 19th century is really a fun book to read. This is because of the topic — who can imagine people sitting around and watching multi-day continuous matches with the competitors circling around a small track — and because of Mr. Algeo’s writing style, which is energetic and playful. He knows his topic is irreverent if not comical, and that makes for a great book.

I am right now perusing through some books for the fourth episode.

One thing I must note, that since starting this podcast it has really forced me to read and consider books in a way I had never done before.

The way I used to read a book was just to read it. I never seriously considered the sources being used or how well the book was structured. I suppose that since I’m doing these Podcasts that I am becoming a defacto critic, which isn’t necessarily a good thing — although it is fun.

On the personal project front, I have completed about 98% of the research and have received the fully executed book contract for my submarine tale. The main problem is finding the time to write. I have between 50,000 to 60,000 words of manuscript completed, which isn’t bad since the publisher wants “approximately 75,000 words.” But I do have a one-year old at home so it is difficult to write there -and writing at work is just bad form. Fortunately, I negotiated with my wife some release time to do some work at the public library. She’s my pre-editor editor and has a very good eye for narrative and description (she has a degree in creative writing). So she is getting the chapters before anybody else.

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