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Radio is a funny business

My radio tour ends next week with a taped interview on KCBX, an NPR affiliate station in Santa Barbara. It’s an appropriate homecoming. In the early 1970s, I was one of the first students at the original Santa Barbara campus of Maharishi International University. Like a lot of other people who were there, I have really good memories of those days. In my book I said that it was “like Hogwarts Academy, except for real.”

I recall sitting under the palm trees by the pool listening to a radio station that played the kind of programming I couldn’t get back home in Wisconsin. They had stuff like Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre and the King Biscuit Flower Hour and Dear Friends with the Firesign Theatre. I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good chance that the station was KCBX. In any case, I’m happy that my radio tour is ending where it all started.

After a couple dozen interviews, I see the truth of the old saw that “radio is a funny business.” It’s all by the seat of your pants and you never know what you’re getting in to until you’re on the air. If you’re an author, you might have to summarize your book in a couple of sound bites between commercial breaks. On another show, you might have to explain it in depth while fending off hostile callers. It’s great practice for honing your message. For me, at least, it’s also a lot of fun.

Back in June I did an interview with Bob Keeton of the Living Successfully show on Sirius satellite radio. Bob sells CD copies of his radio programs on his web site. You can purchase a copy of my interview with him here. I don’t make any money off of this, but I thought that Bob did a good job and I’m happy to support him.

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Review quickies

Jody at the Guruphiliac blog did a great review of The Maharishi Effect in his trademark fun style. Read it here. Kirkus Reviews did a brief but good summary of my book in their special issue on religion and spirituality. Click here to see the PDF file, then scroll down to the box labelled “Spiritual Memoirs.”

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Tell your stories

Now that The Maharishi Effect has been out for a month or so, I’m getting a sense of how readers respond to the book. It’s been wonderful hearing from current and former members of the TM movement who say that the book spoke to them. It’s helping them find some perspective and closure on an important chapter in their lives. It occurred to me that the process could continue on this blog. If you’d like to share your story about life in the TM movement or with other groups and gurus, feel free to post it as a comment to this message.

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Tour notes

The Wisconsin phase of the book tour included two of the oldest independent book stores in the state. I’m very grateful to the staff at Schwartz Books in Shorewood and University Books Hilldale here in Madison. Thanks for showing us what makes independents so important in the age of big chains.

Although the offical tour is over, I’ll be on the road for the next few months promoting the book wherever there’s an interest. If you’d like me to speak at your store, book group, writer’s class, or whatever, send me an email.

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I’d like to thank the staff of Book Passage in Corte Madera for their hospitality last Sunday. It was great to be there for the store’s 30th anniversary celebration. A big community of readers and writers from all over turned out for the event. I got to meet one of my favorite writers–Isabel Allende, author of The House of the Spirits. Congratulations to Book Passage!

The book tour continues with a reading tonight at Schwartz Books in Shorewood, Wisconsin. If you’re in the Milwaukee area, please come and support one of the midwest’s best independent bookstores.

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