"The Columbine Effect: How five teen pastimes got caught in the crossfire and why teens are taking them back," is out now. You can buy it at many online bookstores, and order it from just about any brick-and-mortar bookshop. The Kindle version is available exclusively on Amazon.
To celebrate the book's release, I did an interview with Laura Barcella, one of the editors at xoJane. Here's an excerpt:
What were your own teen years like? Do you have any personal history or affinity for the 5 teen pastimes referenced in your book's title?
I fell in love with heavy metal when I was about 16. And I was struck, for example, by how a fast thrash song like Metallica’s “Damage, Inc.” would make me feel giddy and bouncy, instead of surly and angry -- as metal’s critics suggested it would. I’ve listened to metal consistently since I was a teenager and it almost never fails to make me feel good, but until I read academic research on the genre, particularly Jeffrey Jensen Arnett’s “Metalheads,” I figured I was an outlier. It turns out that most fans of metal say that it calms them down, picks them up, and makes them feel better. That discovery was one of many that sparked my interest in writing this book. I wanted to show that the reality of these pastimes is vastly different from what we hear about in the news.
Read the whole Q&A here.
Adrien Begrand over at Decibel Magazine's "Sucker for Punishment" blog included The Columbine Effect in his metalhead gift guide, and gave it a pretty sweet writeup. He calls it "Easily the most thoughtful book I’ve seen about heavy metal/youth culture this year."
Last night, I chatted with Invisible Oranges editor Scab Casserole on East Village Radio about the book, told stories and aired a number of metal songs that were scapegoated in the 1980s and 1990s for allegedly leading people into suicide or violence. It was a great conversation, and if you missed it, you can catch up (and see the playlist) here.
On Sunday, I did a lengthy interview with the folks at the Mystical Positivist (on KOWS Radio) about paganism, teens, stereotypes and spirituality. That's now online here.
On Friday, the folks at the Armstrong & Getty radio show interviewed me during one of their morning segments about my new book, The Columbine Effect. If you missed hearing it live, you can check out my interview towards the last 10 minutes of this clip. I also appeared on KSRO's morning news program on Oct. 15; I wish it was archived online. Still, it was a fun interview.
Today, I have a new piece up on PopMatters celebrating Fields of the Nephilim's self-titled "brown album" on its 25th birthday. In it, I interview some unexpected musicians who were inspired by the band and this album, including Watain, Horseback and Katatonia.
Also, earlier this month, I published a new piece with Poynter called "6 tips for reporters tracking state legal cases." Check it out!
My new book, "The Columbine Effect: How five teen pastimes got caught in the crossfire and why teens are taking them back," will be out in early December. You can find out more about the book, watch the trailer, see blurbs, and download a sample chapter at my Columbine Effect page.
I'll be holding a book launch and reading at Bird & Beckett bookstore in San Francisco on Monday, January 13, 2014, at 7 p.m. Please come!
PopMatters editor and columnist Craig Hayes recently wrote an insightful column on the darkest aspects of heavy metal -- and the ethical choices fans make to listen or not listen -- called A Very Dirty Lens: How Can We Listen to Offensive Metal?, which includes some quotes and comments from me as well as several other prominent metal writers. Click on through to read the whole thing.
Also, I wrote a guest blog over at Doula Trainings International about Have Milk, Will Travel that includes an excerpt from my essay.
As a warning, there is content in both of these links that might not be safe for work!
This morning, KGO Radio morning host Ronn Owens devoted an hour to the topic of Washington DC navy yard shooter Aaron Alexis and his purported "obsession" with Call of Duty. His producer invited me to be on the show, which you can listen to here. I come in at about the 19:50 mark, but the whole hour is worth hearing. And for more from me about this tragic event, please check out today's post on the Backward Messages blog.
I'm happy to announce that an essay I wrote, called "Undignified Positions," will be included in the anthology Have Milk, Will Travel: Comic Adventures in Breastfeeding, due next month from Demeter Press in Toronto. This was a long time in coming; I wrote the essay three years ago, and the editor struggled mightily to find a home and a publisher for this incredible book.
Here's the text from the press release:
Have Milk, Will Travel: Comic Adventures in Breastfeeding reveals the lighter side of nursing and throws a lifeline of humor to mothers in the thick of lactation. Knowing that other mothers nurse in crazy places, go to extreme lengths to regulate milk supply, or unwittingly pump breast milk while on the radio, readers can be assured that they are not alone in having lost all modesty and that, in fact, they may be doing better than most. Have Milk, Will Travel collects thirty stories, by both established and emerging writers, that highlight in embarrassing detail the trials, tribulations, and laugh-out-loud turbulence of life as the one-stop milk shop.
I'm hoping to help organize and/or participate in a local event in connection with the launch of the book. If and when that happens, I'll post it here. I'll also post links where you can buy the book when I have them.