From left: dork, dufus, Clarke


New Podcast: Will Clarke Talks About His Literary Fame and Bad TV Ideas

His new book is The Neon Palm of Madam Melançon.

Will Clarke likes to flip his professional persona from adman to novelist every decade or so, and, lucky for all of us readers, we’re back to the novelist part of that cycle. This time, unlike after his first book, Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles, took off, he’s kept his day job. For the past two years, he’s been the vice president of marketing at Poo-Pourri. Now he gets to be critically acclaimed novelist once again.

His newest book is The Neon Palm of Madame Melançon, which finds a native New Orleanian returning to his hometown to defend the company whose mistake dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf. Oh, and his palm-reading mother has gone missing. Here’s how Zac described it in our August issue (on newsstands now, folks!):

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what’s really going on is a battle across time and space and alternate realities for the very soul of human existence. No big deal. It’s a battle that includes swarms of rabid raccoons, adult diapers, famous dead authors, and infamous living artists. The Neon Palm is set in 2010, but its eyes are on Make America Great Again 2017 and its mind is on some disastrous (but hopefully avoidable) point even further in the distance. It sometimes feels like Clarke’s Big Ideas might be a little too big, but he manages to pull it all off.

Clarke unloaded some of his Big Ideas in this week’s podcast at the Old Monk, with Tim Rogers and the notably-not-Zac-Crain Eric Celeste. Show notes after the jump.

1. The Trinity toll road is dead. Long live the Trinity Park, and may its public-private governing body be transparent.

2. Here’s the actual quote from Councilman Philip Kingston. Tim has admitted that he was exaggerating a bit. Kingston said at Wednesday’s Council meeting: “I can remember in 2006, I guess it was, I had just started a new job, and I got a call from Angela Hunt for some help on the campaign to try to stop this road. Man, I have some regret about this, because I had a new job and just could not take the time to do it. If I had helped her, I wonder if that would have made any difference. I see Angela and Brooks Love here today who worked on that project, and if they had been successful in 2007, this city would have—not just in terms of money expended, which is a good point. We have wasted millions of dollars on plans that we are never going to use. The level of intellectual energy among some of the best leaders in this town would not have been wasted for the last 10 years. … What could have been still captivates me. But I’m excited about today. Today is a wonderful day.”

3. Southern Dallas Councilman Dwaine Caraway’s bit of political theater at the start of the toll road death march got a little bit of a mention in Peter’s writeup of the local government corporation, but the full gist of his statements didn’t get reported anywhere else. Fear not, because I transcribed it:

“I made a decision when I was running for office … the majority of my constituents were not as concerned about another tollway than they were about the Trinity Park. I’m going to stand to my word. I will be voting against 3C, the toll road, all right. I will also be supporting the LGC … Now, I will not be subject to any threats or push and pulls. I’m an independent decision maker. I have a right to go to sleep at 10:30 and if I miss your phone call at 11:09 and I wake up and see a message saying, ‘I’m going to remember this,’ I take that a bad way.”

Who the hell is threatening Dwaine Caraway at 11 o’clock at night on a Tuesday?

4. VBikes was the first bike share company to hit the streets of Dallas. They’re from Garland. This week, the Silicon Valley startups invaded. First it was Spin, soon it will be LimeBike. Tim didn’t have such a good experience with Spin yesterday afternoon.

5. First of all, Will is a friend of D Magazine. Will has history with D Magazine. Kathy made sort of a joke about the marketing run-up of The Neon Palm, which got a fun response from Will in the comments. All this stems from a 2006 piece from Tim, in which his copy of Lord Vishnu wound up at a Half Price Books and was purchased by another reader who was charmed by Will’s inscription. God, this is getting really inside baseball.

6. Here is an article that I just found by googling about how native Dallasite David Gordon Green was once connected to directing a feature film adaptation of Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles.

7. After you’re finished with this podcast with a Noted Dallas Author, consider listening to this EarBurner episode with Harry Hunsicker, another Noted Dallas Author.

8. Here is Robert Wilonsky’s very kind writeup of Clarke, in the Morning News earlier this month.

9. Finally, go see Will talk. He’s at newly opened Interabang Books up north tomorrow at 7 p.m. He’s down south at Wild Detectives at 7:30 p.m. on August 17.