Jean Shepherd told dozens of tales of his
multifaceted trips to various parts
of the globe. I’ve transcribed many
of them and put them together into a
This version of Stanley meeting Livingston
should be familiar to most people—
especially to those who encountered it
in one of my previous blogs.
Shepherd traveled all over the world and he loved it. He spoke about his travels a lot on his radio programs, just as he spoke a lot about his army time and his time as a kid. All of these are worth preserving in print. My overview of his career, including commentary on his kid-life, his army-life, and his love of travel, is in my EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! (March, 2005). My selection and extensive commentaries on his army stories are in my SHEP’S ARMY: BUMMERS, BLISTERS, AND BOONDOGGLES (August, 2013). My selection and commentary on his travel narratives are in my book manuscript tentatively titled TRAVELS WITH SHEP.
I’m now beginning to post some of that travel manuscript material
interspersed with other Shep-based subjects
As you’ll see, Shep’s travel writings don’t conform to the usual travel book—they are more personal than most travel writing, and each episode more informally put together, because he mostly broadcast his comments very soon after he returned from each trip—he didn’t take weeks or months to ponder the form or the content. This makes them all of a piece with his other radio work. This spontaneous tone will be appreciated by lovers of his other radio broadcasts, by those wanting to learn about unusual experiences filtered through a perceptive sensibility, and by those entranced by a raconteur delivering the goods at the heights of his narrative euphoria.
COVER IDEA #1
As is my custom, I like to design potential covers for my books.
I was fortunate that my design for the front cover of
Excelsior, You Fathead!
was used (but unacknowledged) just as I conceived it.
This and further cover ideas were conceived and printed
before my Shep’s Army book had received its final title.
The only book-manuscript illustration is the frontispiece photo of
Shep talking to amazonian Indians while holding a jews harp.
The other illustrations for these blog posts are not part of my
book manuscript, but are included
to visually enliven the gray textural matter.