When Jason Pettus at CCLaP expressed interest in publishing 99 Problems he said he was particularly struck by how many writers were also runners. As we read Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker what we were initially struck by was how many writers seemed to have offbeat, if not outright strained childhoods, filled with all sorts of funky family dynamics, struggles with self-confidence and the inability to find their way, both as a writer and in life. But then we thought, maybe that's everybody in some form or another, and what we're really encountering here is the writer's ability to translate that pain and strife into words and image and narrative that transcend mere description and turn them into something powerful, engaging and even beautiful. Which then got us thinking that if any of this is remotely true, the real challenge may be how the writer accomplishes this in a way that sounds vibrant and different and brings new perspective and language to the discussion, continuing an ongoing dialogue in fresh and exciting new ways. Which brings us back to Cardboard Gods and Josh Wilker's moving exploration of his childhood, pop culture, the last third of the last century, and the start of the new one, rooting for the Boston Red Sox and the birth of the writer through his youthful obsession with all things baseball card, the players, both obscure and star, their stats and back stories, and the endless hopes, needs, and anxieties we can project onto an object of desire. Why do all writers seem to know pain, because we all do, everyone, but writers labor to describe it, because they, we, have no other choice.
We would add here, that as part of TBWCYL, Inc.'s 2010 Top Ten Book List, we wrote about the morass of books that have landed here at headquarters during the past several months, and our inability to read them at the rate we prefer to due to the endless end of the year responsibilities that come with running a massive, yet faux, media empire. That said, we have taken some vacation time, a new year of work travel is rapidly approaching, and we are pleased to announce that Cardboard Gods represents the first book to be scratched off of the list. Next up, Sophomoric Philosophy by Victor David Giron. Nice.