From Movable Type to movable type

On the flight to St. Petersburg I listened to the podcast of a session I missed at SXSW called From Blog to Book (audio). It was, duh, about turning one’s blog into a book. Now, don’t panic, I’m not naïve enough to assume that the content of this blog is worthy of bookdom. Seriously, I know. Nor do I assume that the number of readers of this blog constitutes enough of a market to make a print-run viable. But still. One can dream.

The upcoming trip to Barile just seems to me so apt for linear exposition, either as a series of articles or as a book. Why would it make a good story, you ask? Well, consider that I am hauling myself and my not-so-worldly parents across the ocean to a remote corner of Italy merely on the invitation of a municipal council whose only e-mail to me reads:

Dear Sir John Tolve, we’re the “Pro-Loco” of Barile in the province Potenza, Italy. We wold like to invite you to a conference and we want establish it (date) with your business. This event will be held next summer and we wish to award you for your activities developed in USA. As we are very prond of your “Barilese” origins and we would like to spend a celebration day with you. We are looking forevard to receive your news

My reply and subsequent re-replies have all bounced back because of a too-full mailbox in Barile.

Now, of course I’ve been in contact with others — a representative of the regional government, a family friend who is a travel agent in the area, a work colleague outside of Naples, and an Italian cousin whose coming in from Holland — but none of them really know what’s going on or what’s going to happen in Barile. This in itself I find interesting. As in, what the hell am I doing leaving my wife and children in Chicago to go to Italy for “a celebration day”? Might make a good start to a book, no? A mystery-travelogue of sorts.

So back to the podcast From Blog to Book. My expectations were fairly low since, let’s face it, not that many great bloggers have become great print writers. What esteemed example do they have on the panel? That’d be Tucker Max, author of, one of the most offensively, hilariously puerile sites on the ‘tubes. Basically Tucker is a decent writer with an insatiable libido, a love of reckless inebriation, and zero moral qualms. As you might imagine, the session wasn’t exactly loaded with tips for aspiring writers because, well, humanity being what it is, anyone who can write well about drunken sex is bound to do pretty well for himself. As I do not plan on drunken sex in Italy (“day of celebration”, eh?) I am lacking a critical component of this sure-fire formula for success.

But I’d still like to try. Not sure where to begin (other than this blog, of course). Suggestions welcome. I know some of you out there have been published!

Of course, we’ll have to see what happens in Italy. My money is on the unexpected.

T-minus 3 weeks, 1 day.