'You see that woman sitting back there, on the aisle? She's one hell of a musician. And one hell of a writer.' - Peter S. Beagle, identifying Deborah Grabien during his Giant Bones reading at BayCon, 2010.
Evening all -- welcome to another edition of Green Man Review. Come sit down in our Pub, have a pint or two of our most excellent Smashing Pumpkins Ale which we just tapped this week, and we'll talk over what's up this edition.
Yes, this edition is all about Deborah Grabien, author of not just one but two superb mystery series (to wit, the English folk rock tinged Haunted Ballad series and the rock and roll centered JP Kinkaid Chronicles), who is over in the Snug laughing at something Peter S. Beagle just told her. Their fascinating conversation will be one of three featured pieces this edition as soon as it is transcribed.
So let's have Peter himself, a man known for being a master of prose, verse, music making, and even play crafting, tell us about her...
I've never known anyone like her.
Feisty, talented women, surely, and plenty of them - some day I should assemble a catalogue raisonné of the ones I've been lucky enough to know or cross paths with in my life. But Deb G...Deb G...
Leaving out fearlessness, kindness, and profound generosity -- with herself, which is where it matters most -- she's one of maybe four people I've known well who always seemed to do the right thing without having to think about it like the rest of us. One was a Kentucky redneck; one was a black man from Grady, Alabama; one was my father. Deborah Grabien instinctively takes care of people, to the point of exhaustion, even when she's the one who most needs the care. Drives you nuts when you watch her wearing herself out for others, but it's the way she is.
As a writer, she can bring you inside the head of an alcoholic musician at a recording session, or a courtier at fifteenth-century palace ball, or that of a cat abandoned in Golden Gate Park. (As far as I know, we might be the last two people anywhere in the Western world who still write the occasional Shakespearean sonnet or villanelle.) As a musician...well, I haven't yet jammed with her, but I've recently watched her play, and my measured conclusion is that I need to practice. Mostly, I'm just glad I know her. I wouldn't have missed Deborah Grabien for anything.
As one of reviewers said in looking at one of her works, 'Grabien is a writer with a style that is easy and pleasant to read; in short, she is a talented storyteller.' She is also a damn fine music critic, one of Richard Thompson's most avid fans, a musician of some note, and even an editor on occasion. She is also an editor-at-large for us working on special editions as need be.
Her website says that 'These days, in between cat rescues and cookery, Deborah can generally be found listening to music, playing music on one of eleven guitars, hanging out with her musician friends, or writing fiction that deals with music, insofar as multiple sclerosis -- she was diagnosed in 2002 -- will allow.'
Our first piece by her this edition is a reprinting of her Endless Jam piece which is her superb homage to the enduring strength of rock and roll through the years, such that even Death Herself can't stop the music from going on and on.
Our second piece is her follow-up to her 'Summer in The 2009 Bay Area Summer Music Roundup' which she has called, as she notes over tea, 'Before the Equinox Hits -- Summer Roundup Best of the Bay Area, 2010' and which has, as she notes, 'a live music review (Jemimah Puddleduck), plus two CDs, plus a few other things, including Pete Sears' superb soundtrack with Los Lobos for a documentary on the Mexican revolution.' (Also going on to reminisce a bit about BayCon - Peter was Guest of Honor)' You can click the link above for that superb essay.
Our third piece is titled by her ''One Sunny Afternoon in Avicenna -- Peter Beagle in conversation with Deborah Grabien [as] moderated by Amacker Bullwinkle' and her intro to this lovely interview is worth reading now
What happens on a sunny day in the Bay Area, when the Lady Writer puts together a humongous pot of polpetti al forno, grabs radio host extraordinaire/artist/bionic woman Amacker Bullwinkle, and heads for the not-so-mythical place Peter Beagle calls Avicenna, aka North Berkeley/Oakland?
Let's put it this way: Any day that starts with the moderator being late because she's stopped to take pictures of the raven in the middle of the road has already got a favourable omen on its shoulder.
So, lunch happens. So does wine. I introduce Amacker to Peter (she licks his hand, fulfilling a promise she made to herself when this interview was proposed). So do Amacker's iPhone shots of the aforementioned raven (big honkin' bird!) There's lot of pleasurable cackling. There's even some talk about writing.
Yes, I said some. The interview for Green Man starts off the way an interview of this sort should do, but it doesn't actually end as expected. Peter's first words, in his seat of interviewer, are "Can I just say, I envy you your life as a musician," and we're off, down a side road.
We have a number of goodies for you as well that she's penned much down the years including two superb mystery series, so just savour the opening chapter of The Weaver and The Factory Maid, the first novel in her Haunted Ballad series which is still the all-time favourite mystery series of Cat Eldridge, editor of Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog.
We have excerpts from the first four JP Kinkaid mysteries -- Rock and Roll Never Forgets (2008), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2009), London Calling (2010), and the forthcoming Graceland (2011). As rock and roll is now under the auspices of the Sleeping Hedgehog enterprise, look for a review of the first three novels sometime this Fall.
Finally we have a story by her called 'Ghost, in the Key of B'. Is it a horror story? Or maybe ghost story? Or is it simply a matter of madness? Read the story and decide for yourself!
Green Man Review News is an email list for readers of Green Man Review. Each edition, we'll send out a brief précis of our current edition. This is an announcement-only list. To subscribe, send an email to this address, or go here. Green Man Review also posts its updates on Livejournal.
Entire Contents Copyright, 1993-2010, Green Man Review, a publication of Kinrowan Limited except where specifically noted such as the photo of Deborah Grabien which is courtesy of Nicholas Grabien, 2008. All Rights Reserved.
All stories, songs, and other intellectual property hosted on the Green Man Review site as linked to here is done so with the explicit permission of the copyright holder. No re-use is allowed without the express written permission of the copyright holder.
A metafictional postscript -- all actual living beings referred to in the Green Man Review grand narrative have agreed to be there. Really. Truly. Confused? Just sit back and enjoy our stories within stories. And do keep in mind that opinions expressed in the metanarrative do not necessarily reflect the views of Green Man Review or that of Kinrowan Limited. They might, they might not.
Any resemblance in Continuity to persons, places, or times of anyone or anywhere living or dead, is purely coincidental unless otherwise noted. Those who know differently are unlikely to admit their involvement.
Book Reviews Editor
Culinary Reviews Editor
Film and DVD Reviews Editor
Performance Reviews Editor
Recorded Music Editor
Proofers and What's New Writers
Kage Baker (1952 to 2010)
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 to 1973)
Kage Baker reading her
A reading from Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn
Elizabeth Bear reads The Chains that You Refuse
Black 47's 'Liverpool Fantasy'
An excerpt from Paul Brandon's The Wild Reel novel
Emma Bull and Will Shetterly's The War for The Oaks movie trailer
Nicholas Burbridge's 'Open House'
Cats Laughing's 'For It All'
Charles de Lint performing his 'Sam's Song'
Charles de Lint -- Some thoughts on his fiction
Gaelic Storm's 'Kiss Me'
Christopher Golden's 'The Deal'
The opening chapter of The Weaver and The Factory Maid, the first novel in Deborah Grabien's Haunted Ballad series.
An excerpt from Deborah Grabien's Rock & Roll Never Forgets -- A JP Kinkaid Mystery
'The Winter Queen Reel' (played by Roger Landres), composed in honour of Jane Yolen
Chuck Lipsig on 'Star of Munster' variations
McDermott's 2 Hours' 'Fox on the Run'
An excerpt from James Stoddard's 'The High House'
Tinker's Own performing 'The Tinker's Black Kettle', a jig by Charles de Lint from The Little Country
Vagabond Opera's 'Marlehe'
A Vasen tune for your enjoyment
Cathrynne Valente's 'The Surgeon's Wife'
Cathrynne Valente reading a selection titled 'The Tea Maid and The Tailor' from The Orphan's Tales Haunted Ballad
Robin Williamson's 'Five Denials on Merlin's Grave'
Archived 6:20pm PST 30th October LLS