I’m a member of the Amazon Vine program, which means I get to pick out books to review. In the not-so-distant past, I chose to review Inklings by this dude I’d never heard of. I got the book, and truly, ‘twas the best memoir I ever read. I wrote my review, then sent the dude an email asking if he’d sign my book. He graciously said yes. From that tiny beginning in October 2009, a great friendship was forged. I now have every version of his book (photo above), all signed. We talk about creativity and where it comes from. We talk about family. We talk about wine and chocolate. Sometimes, we even get to share all of the above in person. He is truly an amazing person, and I am proud to call him my friend.
I’m pleased as a girl can be that the first person I feature for The Questions is Jeffrey Koterba. Apparently (per a bio he sent me), he’s a guy. Also, he answered eight of my questions instead of seven. But I’m sharing them all anyway.
5. What skill(s) do you wish you’d learned as a kid?
I never learned to swim. Before I was born my mother nearly drowned. I grew up hearing stories about that and I think it put a fear of swimming into my head at an early age. Still, I love the water, and get in the water often, and I do try to swim. But there is something about letting go that I just can’t do.
8. Your favorite book growing up?
There is a children’s book that I don’t know the title of that I would give anything to find. I was probably in the first grade when I first saw it in the school library. I recall the book containing drawings of made-up animals. Perhaps a snout from this animal, an ear from that animal. The book captured my imagination. Later, in fifth grade, I’ll never forgot my teacher reading Charlotte’s Web to the class, the windows open, a warm, spring breeze making us a little drowsy. I recall closing my eyes and drifting along to her words. Never falling asleep, but simply falling and rising on the sound of her voice, the sound of the words, and, of course, excited about what was coming next in the story.
9. What is a guilty pleasure?
No question: red wine accompanied by dark chocolate that also contains sea salt and almonds. I could eat dark chocolate every day of my life and sometimes do. Wait. You said “guilty pleasure”? Nah, dark chocolate is more of a necessity.
10. Who was the last person you texted? What did you say? Did they respond?
I misread this question. I thought you were asking who was the first person I texted, which got me thinking about the first time I sent an inner-office email at my job at the newspaper. This was clearly a long while back and the concept of having a PC at my desk was a new and exciting one. After the desktop was installed and I was assigned my email address I recall sending a message to my editor in the office next door. The message read: “Watson, come here, I need you.” I’m not sure if he appreciated my channeling Alexander Graham Bell for the purposes of a joke. I thought it was pretty funny.
Now that I think of it, I never got a response from him. I’m now wondering if I didn’t hit the send button properly. Perhaps that message is still floating somewhere in cyber space.
11. What three items will always be found in your refrigerator?
Almond butter, avocado, dark chocolate.
12. Where is your favorite place to create?
Wherever I can find that perfect blend of solitude and white noise. Could be at home, in a coffee shop, or even, on rare occasion, a bar.
17. What is your biggest regret?
Not reading more classics when I was younger. Somehow, I missed some great books along the way in high school and college and spent a good chunk of my twenties catching up. Still am.
18. Your work space: neat or messy?
Messy, but if someone were to come in regularly and keep me organized I would be much more productive in a neat environment. I know I would.
Jeffrey Koterba is an award-winning cartoonist for the Omaha World-Herald. His work is distributed through King Features Syndicate to 400 newspapers nationwide, and has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 2010, two of Koterba’s cartoons flew aboard space shuttle Discovery. (dSavannah note: how freaking cool is that?!?!?!)
Koterba’s memoir, Inklings, was named a Chicago Tribune Favorite Nonfiction book of 2009. Entertainment Weekly called Inklings “…a powerful and moving portrait of an artist.”
His band, Prairie Cats, has performed at the South by Southwest Music Festival, and at the Derby Lounge in Hollywood. (dSavannah note: thanks to me, the Cats also performed at the Lyric Theater here in Harrison, Ark. And boy howdy, were they GREAT!)
He’s currently at work on a novel and a children’s story.
Oh, and I’m supposed to tell you that there photo of Jeff was taken by Marc Longbrake for part of a larger art project he’s working on, and will soon be on exhibit…
- His Website (featuring his cool artwork and bunch of his cartoons)
- Buy his book on Amazon – no seriously. BUY IT!