Kieran's Post-Valentine Newsletter, February 15 2004
January 1, 1970It’s been a while.
I’m sure I was planning to make these newsletters more frequent, but the days get full (or they disappear while I just goof around, promising myself I’ll get to work sometime soon), or I think about writing a newsletter and decide that I just don’t have any news to report. Anyway, sometimes you just have to fish or cut bait, so here’s the first newsletter of 2004.
I’m in Las Vegas. I’ve been here three and a half months now, putting me a little over halfway through this stint. I decided a while back that writing a book on Las Vegas and boxing was simply going to be too difficult, and too expensive, if I kept flying back and forth between Alaska and Nevada; besides, it seemed that the only way to gain the trust of those in the boxing community would be if I moved down here, at least for a while, and became accepted as part of the furniture. And that, after a slow start, is how things have been shaping up. I’ve been attending fight cards large and small, and interviewing fighters, managers, trainers, referees, corner men, and others. And by and large, I’ve found that boxing people – particularly the people at the heart of the action, the fighters and trainers – are among the absolute nicest people I’ve ever met. By the time I leave here at the end of April, I hope to have amassed over 40 hours of interviews, which should be enough to get me started; the plan changes from day to day, but right now, my intention is to go back to Alaska for six months to a year, and then return to Las Vegas for a final six-month stint. We’ll see.
Reviews of The Whaling Season keep coming in; most of them are reproduced on the Whaling Season page of my website. Perhaps the best so far appeared in the Daily Yomiuri, the largest English-language newspaper in Japan; the book page editor, Tom Baker, liked it so much he asked me to be one of a small group of authors recommending their favorite books of the year for a special year-end edition of the book review section.
Meanwhile, my agent, John Thornton of The Spieler Agency in New York, is making inquiries about my putative next project. Tentatively titled Voyage of the Antarctic: The Greatest Survival Story Rarely Told, the book would be a retelling of the little-known 1901-03 Antarctic expedition under the leadership of Dr. Otto Nordenskjöld. The most scientifically productive Antarctic expedition to that point, it remains one of the most dramatic of all time: the expedition ship was crushed in the ice, its crew and personnel scattered in three groups, each unaware of the whereabouts of the others and each forced to spend an unanticipated winter ashore in the most hostile environment on Earth. Remarkably, all became reunited the following summer within days of each other, just as a rescue ship appeared over the horizon. There have been very few popular accounts of this voyage; none have appeared in the English language in almost a century, other than a 1977 reprint of Nordenskjöld’s own book. If all goes well, I would hope to write this book by late summer/early fall 2004, for a fall 2005 release.
And the people who brought you the fabled www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com website, and the decidedly less fabled www.welovearnold.com, are making provisional plans for the next blockbuster project. It’s early days yet, but we’re excited. Stay tuned …