Bookpleasures.com once again welcomes as our guest Gordon Osmond. Gordon will shortly be publishing his most recent work, A Hip Pocket Guide to Sports and he is here today to talk about his latest endeavor as well as writing in general. Gordon is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction.
Norm: Good day Gordon and thanks once again for participating in our interview.
Gordon: Thanks, Norm. It’s always a pleasure to spend some e-time with you.
Norm: I noticed that you are a U.S. Citizen living in Brazil. What made you want to live in Brazil and how easy or difficult was it to adapt to your new environment? As a follow up, do you speak Portuguese?
Gordon: Many things prompted my move to Brazil, starting with my love of Carmen Miranda movies. U.S. immigration policies also had a lot to do with it because of my falling in love with a Brazilian.
Finally, there is the exchange rate, which makes living here incredibly inexpensive. Adapting was relatively easy due to the fact that Brazilians tend to love Americans, particularly old ones. I only know about 20 words in Portuguese, but they’re really good ones.
Norm: Could you tell us about people or books you have read that have inspired you to embark on your own career as a writer?
Gordon: The writings of others have operated as either encouragements (I can certainly do better than that!) or discouragements (how could I hope to equal that?).
At times I feel I have written something worthy of the latter group. When I write something that feels like it belongs in the former, I throw it away. I’m always surprised by how much survives this process.
Norm: What do you think of the new Internet market for writers and has it influenced your writing and marketing of your books in any way?
Gordon: The Internet has fundamentally changed life for everyone, and certainly writers are no exception. I don’t believe the Internet has influenced my writing, but it surely has shaped its flogging.
Norm: Where did your knack for humor originate? Is this a family trait?
Gordon: Beats me. Listening to really good stand-up comedians has been instructive. I hope I’ve learned the value of understatement, hyperbole, and, yes, sarcasm, in producing humor. Also, fearlessness has a lot to do with it.
Norm: Do you believe that when done well, humor can have a significant positive effect on your life? If so, please explain?
Gordon: I do, indeed. I’ve always believed that laughing and loving are the two best exercises for the human body.
Norm: Why have you been drawn to writing humor? As a follow up, are there aesthetic advantages and disadvantages peculiar to it? Does it even have a form?
As for form, a wonderful question by the way, I believe that there is a rhythm to humor that should be respected. For example, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is almost too humorous because of the absence of hills and valleys in the writing. Virtually every line is a hill. For me, the best humor lines in a book or play occur almost unexpectedly in the midst of some serious stuff.
Norm: Is there a message in A Hip Pocket Guide to Sports that you want your readers to grasp?
Gordon: An Osmond book without a message? Surely not. The message of my Hip Pocket Guide is that young people should take care of their bodies while buried in their smart phones, that competition should be cherished rather than disparaged, and that some judgment should be exercised in deciding which sports are sufficiently consonant with human values to be pursued and/or observed rather than shunned.
What kind of research did you do to write this book?
Gordon: Virtually none. It was all done from personal memory of sports, friends, and films. I did use Google to check on the spelling of some names.
Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Gordon: Reliving past experiences I’ve had playing sports and going to movies. Also being in touch with some dear friends whom I’ve coaxed into contributing essays defending sports that I’ve attacked rather savagely.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of the writing process as it pertains to your latest book and could you describe the process?
Gordon: My tendency is to write very lean and then struggle to add. Ironically, I believe my best writing is generally what I add in this beefing-up process.
This was particularly challenging with this book. I did add material based on the headlines of the day, but even so the book is a very fast and easy read. My training as a lawyer and playwright conspire to produce in me an allergy to fat.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Gordon: An anthology of three full-length stage plays that I believe are my best works for the stage.
Norm: How can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Norm: As this interview comes to an end, do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Gordon: To readers, many thanks. To others, consider becoming one. It won’t hurt a bit.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors
Gordon: Right back atcha, Norm. You’re a treasured resources for writers the world over.