365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

T-shirt #320 - Back-to-Back-Dogwood-Updike&Oates

T-shirt #320 - Back-to-Back - the Dogwood Festival - John Updike & Joyce Carol Oates

Today's shirt comes from an event held by the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival in 1994, which means the shirt is now twenty years old. The Dogwood Festival is a great arts event that is primarily known for its annual writer in residence program, in which a famous and well-published writer is brought in to give a talk and participate in various community events, including some classroom visits in the schools of Dowagiac, Michigan, where the festival is located. This feature a back-to-back event the Dogwood hosted in 1994 hosting both John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates within days of each other. I was lucky enough to attend and to write coverage for the Kalamazoo Gazette. The Dogwood gave me this T-shirt as part of the promotional materials to help me write my features and reviews.

Over the years, I have enjoyed the privilege of seeing many great writers at Dogwood, including Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Cunningham, Jonathan Franzen, Sara Paretsky, Michael Chabon, and my favorite author Margaret Atwood. One of the things I LOVE about the Dogwood Festival is that the authors are not allowed to read from their work in their public address presentation. The only caveat is that the talk must be about something of interest to the author.

Vonnegut's talk is one of the most memorable. He explained that we are put on this earth to fart around. He gave many examples of running errands in his neighborhood in New York, chatting up the store owners and postal workers and others he encounters in his stroll around the few blocks near his apartment. Because of her father's career and background, Atwood talked about science, mainly entomology, which was wonderful. Peppered with her experiences taking summer vacations deep in the northern Canadian "bush," Atwood painted lovely pictures and provoked all kinds of interesting things to think about.

I was disappointed with Michael Chabon's talk as he pontificated about his achievement of reading James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and his study and contemplation about its slippery meaning. I was not very engaged with his content, which had little resonance for those of us (and I would guess nearly everyone if not strictly everyone in the room) who had not read Finnegan's Wake. Like most English literature students, I had tried to read it in college but soon gave up because of the daunting, seemingly indecipherable, text.

Throughout Chabon's twisty, erudite, somewhat inscrutable lecture, I kept thinking to Vonnegut, who had made us laugh with his simple and very true aphorism: we are here on this earth to fart around.

I was going to write about more books, but I am keeping with the shortness.


I just finished Gadget Girl by my friend Suzanne Kamata. It's a year for friends with books as another friend, Helene Dunbar, has a book coming out this spring, and then Suzanne has a second book coming out. I was excited to find out from Suzanne that she is already working on another book following the success of this one, a sequel of sorts.

I loved Gadget Girl. Once I really got going with the book, it was a real page turner, and I could not put it down. Aiko Cassidy is smart and sassy, and a real inspiration for young artists finding themselves. The story moves along, and Kamata's deft, literary sensibilities craft a riveting yet well-told story.

Here's text from Suzanne Kamata's website about Gadget Girl:

Aiko Cassidy is fourteen and lives with her sculptor mother in a small Midwestern town. For most of her young life Aiko, who has cerebral palsy, has been her mother's muse. But now, she no longer wants to pose for the sculptures that have made her mother famous and have put food on the table. Aiko works hard on her own dream of becoming a great manga artist with a secret identity. When Aiko's mother invites her to Paris for a major exhibition of her work, Aiko at first resists. She'd much rather go to Japan, Manga Capital of the World, where she might be able to finally meet her father, the indigo farmer. When she gets to France, however, a hot waiter with a passion for manga and an interest in Aiko makes her wonder if being invisible is such a great thing after all. And a side trip to Lourdes, ridiculous as it seems to her, might just change her life.

Gadget Girl began as a novella published in Cicada. The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction and was included in an anthology of the best stories published in Cicada over the past ten years.

"With GADGET GIRL, Suzanne Kamata beautifully captures the essence of what it feels like when you're learning to be who you already are."
                                 --Andrea J. Buchanan, author of GIFT and coauthor of NY TIMES best-seller THE                                                                                                                    DARING BOOK FOR GIRLS

"Anyone who has ever longed to come into their own will love Gadget Girl."
                                                                              -Leza Lowitz, author of Jet Black and The Ninja Wind


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Story - Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

Rama II - The Sequel to Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee


For the Win by Cory Doctorow


Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

HIATUS TEXT: I am taking a short hiatus. A "hiatus" for the 365 T-shirts Blog does not mean that there will not be shirts or that I will skip posting on any forthcoming day. There will be shirts. But the shirts will not be exciting or the featured shirts will not require me to write a small novel to properly generate the content I feel is sufficient. I created a category for my hiatus so as to group together those "easy" shirts that I consider to be "hiatus shirts." The goal of the hiatus is to fill in many blog days with easy shirts in order to complete longer love letters to beloved popular culture icons on more special shirts and to write more complex entries AHEAD OF TIME. The daily grind is becoming too much and causing me to fall behind and to be forced to post incomplete entries. I am hoping that a series of hiatus shirts will allow me to catch up, get ahead, and stay ahead. Ideally, I would like to be writing the bulk of each entry three days ahead while always working on at least one other. I have a lot of great shirts to share before the end of my blog year (after all I was just given SIXTEEN shirts for my birthday). Stay tuned. I promise to post the more interesting and longer T-shirt entries as I finish them. Thanks for reading. BTW, this is the standard HIATUS TEXT that I will include in every "hiatus shirt" entry.

COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 45 shirts remaining

- chris tower - FIRST PUBLISHED - 1402.04 - 19:46
Final Publication - 1402.05 - 19:26