Goodreads Author Chat with Victoria Patterson and James Brown

Goodreads.com is hosting an online author chat for Victoria Patterson and James Brown from April 4 – April 18. For James Brown, join the discussion here: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/46011.Q_A_with_James_Brown For Victoria Patterson, join the discussion here:http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/46012.Q_A_with_Victoria_Patterson If you love books, and don’t know Goodreads, it’s high time you join Goodreads.com to get the latest on your favorite authors as well as to discover new...

Review of This River by James Brown in The Oregonian

James Brown’s gift to write with such baring honesty about drug and alcohol addiction and how it took hold of his life earned praise in the Oregonian: “James Brown’s “This River” is a second memoir, after “The Los Angeles Diaries,” that deals in a down-to-earth way with addiction and its subtle grip on a man’s life. Brown is such a clean, honest writer that it’s impossible not to be moved by his story or to pick out the best passages, although the ones about coaching his sons on the wrestling team are particularly...

Instructions on the Use of Alcohol – An Excerpt from James Brown’s This River

A brief excerpt from This River from a piece titled “Instructions on the Use of Alcohol”: Part I You’re young, maybe 9 or 10, and your parents are throwing a party.  All the adults are laughing and talking too loudly, in general having a good time, and you put two and two together.  What makes them happy comes out of those bottles on the kitchen counter. The brown ones, you learn soon enough, contain whiskey and scotch.  The clear ones hold vodka and gin and that odd-shaped bottle with the long neck, something called Midori, contains a thick, syrupy green liquid.  That’s the one that intrigues you most, and when the adults aren’t looking you pour yourself a glass.  You sneak it into your room.  You lock the door.  At first you sniff at it, and because it doesn’t smell so good you pinch your nostrils shut before you take a swallow. It burns the back of your throat.  It makes your eyes water.  You shake your head, and for a few minutes, until the alcohol takes effect, you can’t understand how anyone in their right mind could drink this stuff.  But then a tingling sensation begins to spread through your chest, your face is warm and flushed, and you’re suddenly light headed.  You feel good, you feel great.  It’s as if you’ve made a major discovery, a real inroad to the secret of a good life, and it only makes sense that if one drink has this effect on you that a second will make you feel even better.  You finish the glass and sneak another.  You repeat...

Vromans’ Blog Interview with Victoria Patterson

A Pasadena local, Victoria Patterson has spent a lot of time at Vromans Bookstore. In an interview with Vromans Blog she talks about her new critically acclaimed novel THIS VACANT PARADISE and the many hours she spent at Vromans to finish it.  Here’s an excerpt: “Tell me about your history with Vroman’s? I have quite a history with Vroman’s.  It’s still where I get my books, and I’ve taken my boys to Vroman’s since they were born. In fact, I used to come to Vroman’s coffee shop and write while my kids were at church daycare.  And I wrote there often.  This is when my kids were very young, and I was desperate for time to write.  I wrote an essay about it: you can read it here. When Drift’s publication date arrived, I went to Vroman’s to buy my book.  I went alone.  I can’t tell you the feeling: walking into Vroman’s and seeing my book.  I will never forget it.  After I bought Drift, I went to the coffee shop where I used to write to show the workers, and they were all happy for me because they knew me.  One of the customers overheard us and asked me, “Did it take you a long time to write it?”  Before I answered, one of the employees said, “Oh yes!  It took her forever.  She was always in here–writing, writing.  It took her a very, very long time.” Don’t miss Victoria Patterson’s joint reading with James Brown at Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena tomorrow, Thursday, March 24, 7 pm. Food and drink will be...

Interview With James Brown on Addiction Inbox

Here’s an excerpt from this intriguing and insightful Q&A on Addiction Inbox with author James Brown: “Q. Tom McGuane once referred to alcoholism as “the writer’s black lung disease.” Why do you think so many prominent writers have been addicted to alcohol or other drugs? James Brown: The list of alcoholic writers is long: Hemingway, Kerouac, Eugene O’Neil, Dorothy Parker, Fitzgerald, Jean Rhys, Poe, Faulkner, and on and on. The only rationalization I can come up with, at least in regard to my own addiction, is spending long, long hours alone in a room, trapped in my own head, imagination, feelings, memories and thoughts, and when it’s time to resurface, to leave that room and return to the world that exists outside the sheltered perimeters of my mind, I’d want a drink to ease myself back into it. Without that drink, and the many that followed it, because not even from the beginning could I or did I want to stop after just one or two, it was stimuli overload.  Lights seemed brighter.  Noises louder. I was expected by my wife and children to just return to earth and join their lives when a big part of me was still locked up in that room. But these are rationalizations. As the years passed, and the alcohol and drugs took greater hold of me, using and drinking was no longer about easing back into the world but eluding it altogether, where I didn’t have to feel or think.   Did booze or drugs help me creatively? No. That’s myth, a lie, this notion of the tragic artist. Outside of Kerouac’s On...