in books, humor

Stephen Tobolowsky’s New York Times interview

John Williams, interviewing Stephen Tobolowsky, for The New York Times, about his new book, My Adventures with God:

When did you first get the idea to write this book?

The real genesis of the book, so to speak, was probably 2008. I had a terrible accident, and I broke my neck in five places riding a horse on the side of an active volcano in Iceland. What could possibly have gone wrong? So I got back to America, and the doctor told me I had a fatal injury. Which is disturbing on many levels, including a terrible misuse of the word fatal. There’s not a lot you can do with a broken neck. So I’m at home waiting to recover, and I know it’s going to be a few months. And I thought: What if what the doctor told me was true? What if I had died on that mountain in Iceland? What would I have wanted my sons to know about their father?

Those stories became the podcast “The Tobolowsky Files,” and some of those found their way onto national radio. And then Simon & Schuster said, “Can we do a book of some of these stories?” That became “The Dangerous Animals Club.” After that, my editor, Ben Loehnen, called me up and said: “Several of the stories have a kind of spiritual resonance that we’re getting feedback on from people. Is it possible you could write another book of stories that are held together by the idea of spirit or belief or faith or something?” And I said, “Sure, not a problem.” […]

Persuade someone to read it in less than 50 words.

These are true stories from my life. Most are funny. Some are not. They’re often unbelievable, occasionally creepy. Together they tell a bigger story of how we are shaped by the invisible. Something I call divine. Something I hope becomes wisdom.

I have a copy of My Adventures with God [Amazon link] and from what I’ve read so far, it exemplifies the best qualities of Stephen’s storytelling. It is moving, funny, and provocative. I’m so pleased to have been a tiny part of Stephen’s journey towards bringing his stories into the world.