Tuesday, July 10, 2007

voices on-line and other wonders

The good news from Syracuse University Press is that the first print run of the book is nearly sold out! I just spoke about Gordin at the Stratford Festival, where one audience member was more excited that Edgar Kaplan the famous bridge player was my uncle than in anything I said about the famous playwright.

Yesterday a podcast about Gordin by Eric Molinsky, a New York broadcaster, appeared on-line at www.nextbook.org. Please have a listen. Something else to marvel over - the technology that allowed Eric in NYC to interview me here in Toronto (thanks to my good friend, CBC's Eleanor Wachtel, who set up the equipment in her living-room) and then to post his documentary, with interviews with me and two others, on a website where it will remain for years. (FYI I was born in New York not Vancouver, Gordin produced his first play in one week not four, he was not "aggressively courted" by Thomashefsky, and as far as I know, converting to Christianity was never remotely of interest to him.) When I listened, I found out that Barbara Henry, who is studying Gordin's life, uncovered information on a trip to Russia that leads her to believe that the man was not chased out of Russia but chose voluntarily to leave, which would be a huge surprise to me.

I myself say, at one point, that Gordin was such a didactic writer that he "never let his characters breathe." That is wrong and I regret saying it. Some of his characters are indeed mouthpieces for him, true, but some are fleshed-out, vibrant dramatic creations. In a typical Gordin way, I was being too critical.