This May 6, 2017 Torg Stories Podcast edition is with Edwin Arnaudin, a freelance writer for publications such as Asheville’s MountainXpress and Citizen Times.
Edwin is working on a piece for Xpress about our documentary film, On the French Broad River, and so I asked him to join me for a conversation about Asheville and freelance writing. We also talked about what was then the breaking news that the popular local craft brewery Wicked Weed had been sold to Anheuser-Busch.
Our On the French Broad River film screens Asheville’s Grail Moviehouse at the following times:
Wednesday, May 24th 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 27th at noon
Sunday, May 28th at noon
Click here for more information including location and how to buy tickets.
Click on the player below to listen to the podcast or look for it on iTunes.
You can connect with Edwin on Twitter by clicking here or check out his movie site here.
In addition to listening above, you can click here for the iTunes link or just search for “Torg Stories” in the Podcast App of your iPhone.
When I learned Peter had climbed volcanoes in Guatemala, trekked the Himalayas, and spontaneously took a boat to Africa, I wanted to get him on the podcast. I was interested in his time in New York City studying English at Colombia, that he’d spent decades as an editor, and I admired his clever phrase Armpit Travel as a way to capture some of his experiences on the road.
As a way into our conversation, I asked Peter to read from the introduction to his collection. Here it is:
My Slime, Your Dime, High Time
Some folks “travel” via flickering images that dance across the screen. Others prefer to plant their ample posterior on a cushy seat in plane or train or air-conditioned motor coach and watch the world pass by beyond the glass.
And then there are the Armpit Travelers, those intrepid souls who strive to sniff out places a less ardent sort might choose to skip entirely in favor of a visit to the proctologist’s office.
Guided only by their own nose or gut, these indefatigable wayfarers aim to see the world — to taste the motley pleasures of the road and touch the very essence of experience — while ducking the troublesome encumbrance of paying for it. (Inevitably, of course, one does pay, though perhaps in blood and suffering in lieu of legal tender.)
To some, the words “budget travel” evoke visions of bland, greasy food; filthy, flea-infested beds; bathing in frigid water thick with icky microbes; and long, arduous bus rides that seem to go from nowhere to nowhere else. But to the true Armpit Traveler, the rewards of the road don’t stop there.
Beyond thrift, beyond grit or grift, beyond sanity, even, there lies a further storied realm whose streets might well be paved with gold if only they were paved at all. And to those with ears to hear and a nose that isn’t overly particular, that unceasing siren song may ultimately prove as irresistible as the last unprepossessing-looking person who’s still lingering in the singles bar at 2 a.m., blurry but determined, and casting inflammatory glances your way…
No travel agent orchestrates the Armpit Path; no map can aptly delineate its putative treasures. No, it’s up to the self-annointed pilgrim to discern and pursue the elusive way, guided only by the kind of enigmatic inner prompting that drives the arctic tern on its annual pole-to-pole journey and makes lemmings take their fateful leap…
But to the curious, the damned, the misfit or the annelid, a hint or a whistle or a tissue of outright lies just might prove to be the fire that lights the fuse, the fire ant whose mordant mandible incites the sluggard’s reluctant posterior to forward motion…
And to any and all who thus succumb to the blandishments and ballyhoo presented in these pages, I bid you a hearty bon voyage, albeit tempered by the slippery wisdom of an old Scottish proverb: “What may be, may not be…”
Thanks for checking out this edition of the Torg Stories podcast!
Coming soon: French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson and Grail Moviehouse owners Steve and Davida
When I’m looking to give my friends who work 9-5 jobs a hard time, I send them texts like this one:
Before texting my buddy, the plan for this post was to go on to explain that even though I technically don’t have to be back on campus for another 238 days, there’s actually a lot of work to be done. That thought was inspired by those who say to my wife, “Since Bill’s not working…”
There is an online course to teach this summer that involves a lot of preparation before it begins, and once it starts a lot of reading and responding to online texts and emails. I always say I like to read student writing, but sometimes there is just too much of it. However, nothing like a glimpse into my friend’s Office Space work life to spur me on to try and make the most of this opportunity I have to be away from campus.
one of my fav scenes from 1999 film Office Space
At St. John’s University where I teach, we faculty are fortunate enough that we still have the opportunity to be granted research leave. I was granted leave for the fall semester, and I’m feeling pressure to get myself organized to make sure I don’t misuse my opportunity. I know that I can be productive, but I want to be the right kind of productive. Below are some of the lists I’ve been working on so far.
Three Big Points of Emphasis:
Family time including coaching lots of girls basketball
Experiments in building online conversations around this website and the Torg Stories podcast
Projects to Work On:
Short documentary film about students who come to the United States to study
Article based on interviews done with students who are studying abroad in the United States
Essays for a collection perhaps titled A Yankee in the South: Tales of a Native Hoosier… I don’t know what the end of that title is. When I first started dating my wife Megan, her mother used to tell people her daughter was “dating a Yankee.” I’ve since learned that if you’re from places like Alabama, then the folks in Tennessee might be thought of as Northerners.
Pitching films to friends that might involve juice cleanses and lawn mower races.
Items for the Daily Schedule:
Write new stuff or edit film
Work the girls out
Teaching prep and reading student work (for summer)
Write reflections on reading
Professional development (Final Cut Pro X, sound mixing to start)
look for publishing opportunities for written not published work
Go out and about and meet people in Asheville
the master plan for research leave is still evolving
“In his novel The Coach’s Wife, William Torgerson has written one of the best books about basketball and coaching I’ve ever read. He’s also written a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book clubs talking about it for many years.”
–Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and The Death of the Great Santini
The audio version of The Coach’s Wife will be released in installments through the Torg Stories podcast.
In The Coach’s Wife, I draw on my experiences coaching high school basketball in Indiana and the end of several romantic relationships. The story is set in a fictionalized version of my hometown of Winamac, Indiana. Although the story stands on its own, it can also be read as a sequel to Love on the Big Screen.
Here are some endorsements written by writers I admire who were generous enough to take their time to read the manuscript:
“Torgerson has crafted an engaging and realistic portrait of Coach Eric Zaucha. The Coach’s Wife reveals one man’s quest for success on the Indiana basketball court, and for love, with admirable detail and insight.” -Allen Gee, author of My Chinese America
“Meet Zuke, basketball coach, romantic, and narrator of this haunting, fast-paced novel, a tale of love and loss and acceptance, and all that we must learn when the party of college is over.” Peter Golden, author of Comeback Love
“You couldn’t ask for a more irresistible premise and Torgerson stirs it up with a backdrop including O.J. Simpson, Kurt Cobain, and Lady Di. A treacherous and hilarious journey through the human heart that beats with hope on every page.” –Caroline Leavitt
If you’ve read the book, love to hear from you in the comment section. If you have friends who might be interested in the book, I’d appreciate it if you would pass along this link to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this page and keeping the conversation surrounding books alive!
A reader of The Coach’s Wife asks about the “truth” of the stories in the novel about coaches and parents. So there’s talk of the writing process, how fiction works for me, and how I fight off losing my mind when I wake up with too many thoughts at night.