Shake and Bake
This should tell you all you need to know about how great of a dude Shawn McBride is: After I read his book Green Grass Grace (at the recommendation of Kevin Shelly, who pushed me toward great work at the A.C. Press), I asked Lori Hill (who was arts editor at the City Paper part of the time I was there) to give him a call so I could meet -- and drink at the Khyber with him.
I wouldn't call it fanboyism, but I considered him a great talent from Philly. Hence, he would make a great drinking pal, both from a writerly standpoint, and from the fact that he worked full-time at the Criminal Justice Center, the bastion of all great Philly stories. Blurry story short: He was hilarious. I should have extended a standing invite to throw a few back at Krupa's.
All of which is to say a column about him in the Saturday Inquirer caught my eye immediately. Seems that the grass was greener in olden times for Shawn.
"Hey, not much new. Won a Pew Fellowship, got married, had a kid, bought a house, published a book in Russia but got stiffed by the Russian publisher, sold a movie option, got divorced, declared bankruptcy. You know, that old chestnut."
Actually, he sold the movie option twice. He's 37, divorced a second time, now has a daughter from each union, Chloe and Zoe, the rhyming not his idea. "I'm one baby mama away from being a defendant."
He's been working (and working, and working) on the follow-up, as well.
McBride's novel is about Santa.
Also, a snowman named Burl - yes, Burl Ives - "who is a bitter alcoholic with anger issues who hates Frosty," McBride says over a power lunch of grilled cheese and fries. "Santa's in a huge existential crisis. He hangs out with B-listers like David Hasselhoff, David Faustino, who played Bud Bundy, and Jaleel White, who was Urkel." Locales include the North Pole, Northern Liberties and the Badlands.
His working title: A Very Merry F Peter Cottontail Philly Christmas.
I wish him all the best in getting AVMFPCPC finished.
And Shawn, if you happen to see this, drop me a line. Would love to catch up. Preferably, once I'm cleared to drink again.