Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Geoff Herbach--From Cubicle Dwelling to the Avant Garde

Common Good Books is pleased to welcome Geoff Herbach back home after a long book tour on Thursday, June 12th, at 7:30 p.m. We've asked him to tell us a bit about writing his first novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg.
Geoff will be joined at the bookstore by his fellow Lit 6 writers, the creators and cast of The Electric Arc Radio Show.

I am happy to be in the vanguard. In the next year, there are at least two other books being published by major U.S. publishers that use the suicide letter as their narrative medium (uh, way to tell their story). I’m not sure why suicide letters are so popular right now, but think it has something to do with the Bush administration (this is not a tongue in cheek statement – I mean it).

My book, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, is not a about suicide, however. It is not a book about depression or medication or hospitalization (although all three are in it). The Miracle Letters, in its essence, is about the power of reflection.

The book, thankfully, is not autobiographical (there are details, of course, that some reader close to me will recognize – that’s the nature of this business, I think). But, the story is not entirely unrelated to my own, either. When I began work on this book, I held a job at Wells Fargo doing some kind of computer programming. For several years I went through the motions, earning money, not particularly happy, without giving proper consideration to why and how I’d gotten there. Why does a former English major who did nothing but write wild stories through college now attend staff meetings detailing new programming language in a financial calculator?

At the beginning of the book, T. Rimberg not only works in an office, he’s lost everyone dear to him through a series of terrible and vaguely cowardly choices. Although he intends to both punish and apologize to people with his suicide letters, the unintended consequence of his writing is that he begins to understand his past and this understanding, far from propelling him to his demise, propels him into life and future. My favorite marketing tag line for the book is, “Sometimes life gets in the way of a well-planned death.”

I no longer work for Wells Fargo, not because it is a bad place to work, but because it made no sense for me to work there. Now I write and do big, wild reading events with my pals at Lit 6 and The Electric Arc. We’re going to be doing one of these events in support of The Miracle Letters on June 12 at Common Good Books. You should come over. I’ll write a thoughtful, yearbook-style message in The Miracle Letters should you purchase it.

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