Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Author du Jour: Brent Runyon

The Inkwell Bookstore is dedicating all of today's links to Brent Runyon, author of the critically acclaimed autobiography The Burn Journals and the recently released novel Maybe. Reprinted without any care for copyright is a brief note from the author, found on his publisher's website:

"I don’t know if I would be a writer if I hadn’t, when I was fourteen years old, set myself on fire. I think I probably wouldn’t be.

I think doing that to myself — lighting myself on fire, burning away eighty-five percent of my body and then somehow living through it. I think doing that to myself took me out of my life as a teenager. It made me an observer, and much more introspective.

One of the first things I started doing — after I got well enough to go back to school — was start working on a novel. It wasn’t very good, of course, but it was good for me. It was supposed to be about a boy who’d made a terrible mistake when he was young — in the book he killed someone else - and then spent the rest of his life trying to undo that mistake.

It’s probably pretty obvious that I was writing about my own regrets, but at the time I thought I was making stuff up.

As I work on my writing now, all these years later, I’m still surprised at how deeply my writing is connected to the parts of myself I’m unwilling to confront. And when I write about those unspoken things, those embarrassments, those dark and terrible secrets, and put them on the page, I’m still surprised at how easy it is for other people to understand them.

That, for me, is the greatest thing about being a writer. Making those connections and relating to other people who’ve felt the same things I’ve felt."

Here is a one minute clip of Mr. Runyon introducing his autobiography as part of the 'Meet the Author' series. (Brent, I apologize in advance for the open-mouthed screen cap that is freeze-framed below. I assure you it is all the doing of those millionaire Google folks. If offended, please direct your lawyers their way.)

To read an excerpt from The Burn Journals, click here.

To peruse a few pages of Maybe, dab your cursor here.

Runyon is also known for his work in public radio. Below are links to two different clips he produced for NPR.

1. Lost and Found Sound: Loons

2. Shake Marilyn Monroe

Perhaps less well known, but no less worth knowing, is Runyon's secret life as a rock star. To hear his solo acoustic version of Public Enemy's 'Bring The Noise,' click here.