Folks, seven years ago, I tried to find a comedian I had seen in the late 80s, early 90s:
I FINALLY FOUND HIM!
Folks, seven years ago, I tried to find a comedian I had seen in the late 80s, early 90s:
I FINALLY FOUND HIM!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.
I want to let you know that my wife and I have started making an audio fiction anthology called Maladaptive:
We’ll be updating it whenever we want with whatever we want.
Currently, there are only two pieces.
Tin Can: Water Station 12 is a “proof of concept” improvised scene about two people on a space ship.
Troy, IL: Myrtle is a scripted scene with the following description:
Rookie officers Jansen and Ken have been handed the biggest break of their careers on the Troy, IL beat: An interview with a homicide suspect. Myrtle, however, may be more than they bargained for.
This is all fun. Thank you for listening.
It is with great pleasure I announce that “When Elephant Met Giraffe” has been chosen for the Birth to 4 Year category for Illinois Reads!
You can find out more about this great program here:
Illinois Reads is a product of the Illinois Reading Council
Thanks to all of Giraffe and Elephant’s friends for their support!
The day is here!
As you know, Giraffe and Elephant first came into being as a web comic more than a decade and a half ago. Recently, they gained new life as a printed property at Disney/Hyperion.
At long last, ebook versions of “When Elephant Met Giraffe” and “A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant” are available.
We are talking all major formats: Paul Gude’s G&E books from @DisneyHyperion are now available at all major e-book retailers. Get them on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks, and B&N Nook!
Why the heck not?!?
As a special incentive, send a picture of your ebook to @GandEAreFriends on Twitter and you will receive a “signed” picture of your ebook back in an @-reply!
Thank you for supporting Giraffe and Elephant for over fifteen years!
I had a very nice interview with Paula G. of Baltimore County Public Library’s “Between the Covers.”
You should totally read it!
I cannot express how deftly Paul F. Tompkins handles a potentially mortifying situation.
The amazing people who run Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts booked Paul F. Tompkins to come to Lebanon, IL. The population of Lebanon is around 4,000.
The venue, however, is excellent. I did not know this when I set out to buy tickets. I only knew about its existence from a FaceBook post from Paul. By the time I went to buy tickets, it was nearly sold out . I was excited to learn that there was a panel discussion moderated by my friend Nicole Hudson before the show. However, I realized I wouldn’t be going to the discussion. Why? Because my daughter would never sit through that, and she really wanted to meet Paul F. Tompkins.
Imagine a comedian your parents constantly listened to when you were a child. I don’t know how old you are, so I’m not going to give a specific example. For them, though, the person is an entertainer. For you, they were an institution. They were a fact of life.
Every single time he appeared in one of her shows, I would talk about it. “Hey, that Cupid guy is Paul F. Tompkins! Hey, that were-skunk is Paul F. Tompkins!” It got to a point that when I asked her, “Hey, guess who THAT is?” Paul F. Tompkins was one of her default answers.
That is to say, in cartoons. Images of Paul F. Tompkins were unmistakeable to her, due to his, “Old-Timey Suit.” She did not like it when his mustache was not present, perhaps an extension of the betrayal she feels if I shave or even trim my beard. I will say that there have been some false positives in the past. Basically, if you have a suit and a mustache and are from an era earlier than the 40s, she may mistake your photograph for one of Paul F. Tompkins.
Obviously, she had to go. 8:30 is normally her bedtime but there was no school the next day and he was going to be in Lebannon! A half hour away from our house! I saw him at Re-Bar once for my birthday. When we left Seattle, I had simply figured I’d never see him live again unless he came to St. Louis or I happened to visit Los Angeles.
Betty had school, I had work, and after a brief dinner we went to the car. I brought along Freak Warf for Paul F. Tompkins to sign and some of my Giraffe and Elephant books because I of course want the comedian I like to like my things. He also works with Jeremy Carter, a person who had expressed interest in the books but for whom I had been unable to secure an address. So, I brought extra. It’s the equivalent of buying someone a gift that you want them to have rather than something they’d like and then asking them to distribute other gifts to people. Actually, it’s exactly that. I’m a monster.
There was brief drama when all the routes the GPS takes us on were closed. There were brief reunions with friends I haven’t seen in decades. There was the show itself, both funny and heartwarming, where Paul F. Tompkins described his relationship with his wife. When the show ended, we hung out in the lobby to see if Paul F. Tompkins would do a meet and greet. He did.
I was in line and my friend Steve told me to hold his place. I turn to look down at Betty, saying “That’s my friend Steve!” I had told her Steve’s name earlier, but parents get to annoy their children by repeating the same facts constantly.
Of course, Betty was not there.
At this moment, I was struck by the fact that Paul F. Tompkins had described a very similar situation in his act. I suspected this might be a funny note I could bring up to Paul F. Tompkins, or the police.
As a veteran parent, however, I did not panic for long. I simply looked for the worst possible place she could be. In this case, she was right in front of Paul F. Tompkins after line-jumping many many people.
I couldn’t hear what was going on, but she said something and everyone laughed. Paul F. Tompkins resoonded and everyone laughed harder. Taking a deep breath, I walked up to retrieve Betty.
“I’m BETTY!” Betty yell-sang at him.
Paul F. Tompkins replied that he was Paul. Betty informed him that I was also Paul, to which he replied:
“Paul from Twitter, right?”
I confirmed. Always a horrible business person, I put the books down on his table and said, “Jeremy Carter. Also you.”
Paul F. Tompkins made eye contact, smiled and nodded.
At this point, an usher asked me to take Betty and get back in line. I took her by the hand. The usher was asking me to take my books, and That old mortification feeling was creeping up on me.
Then Paul F. Tompkins saved the day.
“Bring Betty back,” he said. “I want a picture.”
He posted it on Twitter.
I made a vine of it.
He went to shake her hand and she missed it. He handled it like a pro.
I made a vine of that, too.
I was worried that I accidentally gave Paul F. Tompkins three of “When Elephant Met Giraffe” and only one of “A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant.” The picture seems to indicate I may have gotten the ratio correctly. Right now, I feel relief in a way that only someone foisting their wares upon a beloved idol in correct proportion feels.
So, a big thank you to Paul F. Tompkins for making a potentially awkward situation into something great.
One final image:
As we were walking back to the car, shivering against the cold, Betty turns to me and said:
“Well, I’m probably never seeing HIM again!”
I take this as a sage balm against egotism and presumption rather than a dire warning.
Bless you, Paul F. Tompkins, and safe travels.
I am pleased to announce that A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant is now out!
Below are some tips of things you can do to help our two pals spread their message of fun and friendship!
Buy the Book Online, Preferably Once or Twice Per Day
Some people feel guilty about buying books online. The mom-and-pop bookstores of the past are having a hard time keeping afloat. However, as someone who has lived far away from bookstores in the past, I know that online ordering of books can be great. It’s not something going away any time soon, so if you are inclined to buy books this way, do it!
There is a psychological effect that can occur when people look at a web page and see that my book is ranked below one million from that particular site’s inventory. “That book must not be very good,” they may think. “I will buy this stupid book instead, that a bunch of people I’ve never met bought.” Even one purchase a day can keep that from happening. So, please buy my book once a day.
If you can afford to buy it twice a day, or once every hour, so much the better.
Here are some places that sell the book:
Write a Good Review Online
People who buy books online cannot ask the bookseller if the book is good. The bookseller will want to sell them books at all costs. Also, the bookseller is a large organization of people and robots. They do not answer questions. Therefore, people read reviews to see if they should buy a book. If they read a good review, YOUR good review, they may be more apt to buy the book. That is good. That is what we want.
You can also write reviews places that do not sell books. Why not write a review on your own blog? It’s yours! Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Write a review for the book on a web site devoted to antique timepieces. Why not? They can’t stop you! Actually, they might be able to. If it’s a moderated community. You could probably give it a shot, though.
Can’t Write a Review? Fine. At Least Rate It. Rate It Very Very High.
Even if you think the book is a four out of five (and if you think that, you are wrong) there’s someone else rating it a one because some people are very bad at telling if things are good or not. You can stop this by rating the book as high as possible. You can do this more than once if you happen to be multiple people.
Do Not Write a Bad Review Online
This is not a bad book. Why would you write a bad review of it? That’s just a bad use of your time. Have fun with some friends instead.
Buy the Book at a Physical Location Where There Are Books
A big secret of the book industry is that there are places that you can walk in and buy books. An even BIGGER secret is that the book industry cares when someone buys books at these physical locations. The BIGGEST secret of all is that there are people who depend on selling books at this physical location for their livelihoods. They normally like books, too, and would be happy to order the book if they don’t have it in their current inventory.
Find a book place near you with IndieBound!
Feature the Book Prominently in Your Cinematic Blockbuster
If you are currently filming a cinematic blockbuster that involves a parent reading to a child, why not have them read A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant? The answer is, “No reason at all!” Unless it’s a business decision. I’m not sure how the film industry works in that regard. Still, having a bunch of people see the book when they’re at a film and then realize it’s an actual book they could buy would be pretty great.
You could also do this on your sit-com. I’m not picky.
Turn the Book Into a Cinematic Blockbuster
People would probably buy the book if it was a popular film. If you can make that happen, it would be a big help.
Donate a Book to a Place That Is Boring
Waiting rooms. They’re SO BORING when you’re a kid. Coffee shops! You don’t drink coffee when you’re a kid. What are you going to do? Why not read a copy of A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant? What? You don’t own it? LUCKILY SOMEONE GAVE A COPY OF THE BOOK TO THIS BORING PLACE.
You could make the preceding paragraph a reality.
Put the Book in a Time Capsule
Please include a note, “In 2015, this book was written by Paul Gude, PRESIDENT OF EARTH.”
I’m doing a few things on my end to make the story more believable.
Do Not Rob a Bank Using the Book
If you have somehow planned the perfect heist that involves robbing a bank with A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant, please do not do it. I know, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” but children might be afraid to hold the book lest they are mistaken as a bank robber by police. That would affect sales.
Do Not Make a Television Celebrity Eat the Book
If you are somehow influential enough that you could coerce a celebrity to eat A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant during a live television broadcast, I am impressed. However, I am worried about the message it would send. People will perhaps be worried they are supposed to eat the book instead of read it. While the purchase of the book is my primary concern, part of the reason parents and teachers recommend them is that they are fun to read. I don’t want to get too far off-brand.
Read the Book
I don’t mention this very often. My main concern is that you buy the book as many times as possible. However, reading the book is pretty fun as well.
Buy When Elephant Met Giraffe
When Elephant Met Giraffe is the first installment of the Giraffe and Elephant books. It is also a nice book and buying it would also not be a bad thing.
My second Disney-Hyperion book for children comes out tomorrow. At the time of this writing, Amazon.com has it still listed as a 25% off pre-order:
It is a great book.
I am proud of it.
There isn’t much more I can say about this, except that I hope that you will buy 50 copies and send them to people you love.
Barring that, you could tell other people about it.
Thanks for reading!
The Internet, and by extension social media, has had the potential to virtually eliminate hearsay for some time. Any stray thought we have about a subject could be verified by someone within our extended sphere of acquaintances who has studied this subject. Any questions we have about an event could be answered by someone known to a friend or family member who was actually there.
The archiving and search functions of the Internet are astounding. The connection potential of Twitter and Facebook have been well-documented. So, why then do we have things like this?
I have some thoughts:
People ask questions that they could have answered with research for two reasons. One, people don’t know how to trust the information they search for online because the current model involves getting information from strangers. Strangers are putting conflicting information on the Internet, and people are unsure which information to trust. Therefore, they are asking their friends to help them sort through the opposing theories for a trustworthy answer. Secondly, sometimes people ask questions not because they couldn’t figure something out, but because they want to talk to you. Asking for information on the Internet is often the equivalent of small talk. You could go through life assuming everyone is an idiot who doesn’t know about Google, or you could consider the idea that they’re asking you something for another reason.
I Read Somewhere That
Again, this can be broken down into two root causes. One, people are lazy. I’m not saying that people don’t want to put effort into something. I’m saying people don’t want to put effort into things they don’t think deserving effort. They can write paragraph after paragraph about an event, but will they read a single paragraph about that event? Some will, but many won’t. Two, actual text sometimes has the problem of not actually supporting your statement. Whether consciously or unconsciously, people have a tendency to select only those portions of a greater work that support their ideas. If they supplied the entire text, others may determine that it doesn’t actually support them.
Excluding the Participant from the Conversation
As above, the tricky thing about witnesses to an event is that they don’t always support your interpretation of it. Inviting someone with more knowledge or experience of an event or subject also means relinquishing some control of the conversation. That’s not the way many of us want to argue. Secondly, witnesses and experts may not have the time or inclination to get involved in every conversation touching on their experiences.
Is There a Way Forward?
I have the following suggestions:
A Final Observation
Having read this entire piece, an important fact may have come to light. It shall be nestled inside a large amount of words to dissuade those who are uncomfortable with writing to ignore it. Each of the rules outlined above was broken in the creation of this work. The term charlatan may be apt here. Let it be a private observation between friends. Furthermore, if one has reached this point through skipping to the end they will be disappointed.
Let us do our best to return research and accountability to our utterances, lest we find ourselves imprisoned in a world of historical fiction.
A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant will be released in February 17th of 2015 and is currently available for pre-order.
The link above takes you to Amazon.com, but Disney-Hyperion has great distribution, so your favorite bookseller should be able to get it.
It is a good book, and recently got a great review from Publisher’s Weekly:
A final note, I would love to answer questions for your publication, podcast, whatever. Contact me on Twitter @paul_gude.
An FAQ is here:
Thanks for reading!