Video by my friend Kirk O'Green -- Kirko -- and his son Geoffrey, otherwise known as Inept Productions.


The McClanamania Kickstarter campaign was, oh my, way beyond successful: 

Our official Kickstarter goal was $10,000, and in the allotted 30 days we raised $13,048. Nonetheless, it was wonderfully exciting right down to the final bell, because the total kept rising even though we'd already reached the goal on Day 28. Two or three additional McClanabackers showed up on our doorstep after the campaign was officially over, begging us to take their money; we relented and let them in, bringing our total to about $13,400. Then along came Kirko.

Ed and Kirko

My friend Kirk O'Green — Kirko — is a latter-day Prankster from the Detroit neck of the hoods; he's a videographer and media producer, a very savvy guy--or so I would've thought before I suckered him into my Kickstarter campaign to the tune of 750 bucks for a day-trip from Lexington up to Maysville, my hometown. And then he made the even costlier mistake of mentioning that he "really liked those gold boots"--referring of course to the fabled Hoyt Axton/Ken Kesey gold cowboy boots, which were our high-end Kickstarter attention-grabber reward item, priced to sell at a very modest $2750. "Let me know if they don't sell," Kirko went on, indicating, as I (correctly) understood it, a lust to own the boots coupled with a reluctance to cough up 2750 simoleons for the privilege. So when the Kickstarter campaign ended, I wrote him an email:

--hey kirko, didn't you say something about being interested in the gold boots if they didn't sell?--well, guess what, they didn't sell!--son, have i got a deal for you!--howzabout 50% off!--i kid you not!--magnificent gold hoyt axton/ken kesey cowboy boots for a mere $1375, and EVERY PENNY goes to a good cause, namely the immortalizing on CDs of the sound of my very own voice reading my very own stories!--don't miss it if you can!--(but hey, i wouldn't blame you if you did)--xoxo, edzo--

Kirko's answer came as quick as an eyeblink: "SOLDARINO!"

Ed McClanahan. Photo by Guy Mendes / Digital Art by Nyoka Hawkins.

We were then planning our lavish rat-cheese-and-boxed-wine Redemption & Fulfillment Blow-Out at our Lexington artist friend Johnny Lackey's nifty little studio and gallery, which, on a stormy Saturday evening in early November, we packed to the rafters. You shoulda been Ed and Geoffrey.there! It was a fine party, complete with a once-in-a-lifetime rendition of "Aba Daba Honeymoon" by me and my forever amigo, the inimitable Gurney Norman. Kirko and his son Geoffrey were there, and the boots fit Geoff as though he were a reincarnation of Hoyt Axton, ca. 1983. The next day we made the trip to Maysville, where I'd been invited to read in the very building that had once housed the drugstore where I'd been a soda jerk in 1949--and we had another full house! Wotta weekend!

The CDs are exactly what I had dared to hope they'd be: meticulously produced and packaged, and not a hiccup on 'em. Jack Wright, our Audio Producer, did a masterful job of making me sound flawless (which I most assuredly ain't), and Nyoka Hawkins, Executive Producer Extraordinaire, did a masterful job of, well, everything else. Repeat: Everything! She researched the Kickstarter process to a fare-thee-well, arming herself with an understanding of its intricacies and subtleties—trust me, they are many—, she and our multi-talented friend Myra Hughes set up and maintained a Facebook presence for me, she handled the business end of the whole operation, she designed the (beautiful!) packaging of the CDs, she even persuaded her illustrious spouse, the aforementioned Gurney Norman, to lend his hallowed name to the project. Nyoka did it all, and a whole lot more besides.

The campaign itself was a deeply satisfying admixture of hard work and fun, anxiety and relief, sacrifices and rewards. I hated to give up the boots, of course, not to mention all the other great stuff I parted company with, but the fact that after I’m long gone I can still tell my stories—out loud! in my own voice!—on these CDs brings me immeasurable personal pleasure and satisfaction.


I Just Hitched in From the Coast

I Just Hitched in from the Coast Horsefeathers

Counterpoint Press has  published, as a paperback original, a new collection of my stories titled I JUST HITCHED IN FROM THE COAST: THE ED McCLANAHAN READER. The book is a gathering of 14 stories, both fiction and non-fiction, including, to my unspeakable and no doubt insufferable delight, all three stories in A CONGRESS OF WONDERS, my favorite book, which has been out of print for a long  time. (My friend and collaborator and  cohort Tom Marksbury has been  immeasurably helpful in the process of assembling the collection, and is officially its editor.) This is a big fat old book — 288 action-packed pages! — and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

And you don't have to take my word for it. Here's a review from the pages of Relix Magazine:

Relix review

But wait, there's more! Here's another long-delayed announcement:

Wind Press has just published HORSEFEATHERS: STORIES FROM ROOM 241, a contributor-edited anthology by the students in a University of Kentucky undergraduate Advanced Creative Writing Class I ostensibly taught in the Fall of 2009. The book, which is available on Amazon and in local bookstores, is a sprightly, eclectic collection of fiction and memoir. Scotty Adkins, one of the contributors, is the Associate Editor, I copy-edited the stories and wrote an introduction, and Johnny Lackey, bless his artistic little heart, did that terrific block print cover (above) for us.

In October I visited classes and did readings and signings with my old Prankster pal Ken Babbs at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, our mutual alma mater. (I graduated in '55, Babbs in '58) .

Babbs presented his first novel, WHO SHOT THE WATER BUFFALO? (Overlook Press, 2011), the original draft of which he wrote almost 50 years ago, when he was a Marine helicopter pilot in the very early days of the Vietnam War.

Whos Shot the Water Buffalo? Ken Babbs
Photo by Brian Lanker

You can read my reflections on my long friendship with Babbs—and on his wonderful book, including the blurb I wrote for him, here.

On October 12, Babbs and I brought our two-man show down to Lexington, where we read at Morris Bookshop in their beautiful new Chevy Chase location. Check out some great pictures of the Morris Bookshop signing taken by Matt Goins, courtesy of the fine folks at the Lexington Herald-Leader by clicking here. Go ahead. You know you want to.

Photo by Matt Goins.
  Photo by Matt Goins. Used with permission.

Here also, belatedly, is a very good piece (with an equally good sidebar interview) that appeared in LEO, the Louisville alt-weekly.


Previous Entries From Ed
01/25/2012 I Just Hitched in From the Coast
9/24/2011 Eschew Higgledy-Piggledy
08/22/2011 Ode to Bubbleheads
08/19/2011 The Magic Trip

My daughter Cait and me and Cait's daughter Jessie, the determined- looking "Time for New Power" girl, marching on the state capitol at this year's edition of the I Love Mountains protest against mountaintop-removal coal mining. Photo by my daughter Kris.

Wonderdog and Acidboy, AWAY!!!!!!

I suppose you think these shirts are just amusingly inept Superman knock-offs, huh? Well, think again, bunky; this is the logo of Sandoz Laboratories, where, in 1938, the good Dr. Albert Hofman synthesized LSD. My Prankster friend Kirko happened to notice the similarity, and had the shirts made up in Superman colors. Then my wife Hilda took this high-fashion foto of our Great Dane, Frida the Wonderdog, and her faithful sidekick Acidboy.

The "I Love Mountains Day" march on the state capitol building in Frankfort, KY, on February 17th, protesting mountaintop-removal coal mining.  That's Ed on the left, in the red jacket.

The "I Love Mountains Day" march on the state capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky, on February 17th, 2009, protesting mountaintop-removal coal mining. That's Ed on the left, in the red jacket.

Jack The Bear

Here's a video of my daughter Annie and me singing my Kesey tribute song "Jack the Bear" at Booksmith in San Francisco, during my Fall, 2008 book tour with O the Clear Moment. The video was shot by my Prankster friend Freddy Hahne. The song appears in the book, in the story called "And Then I Wrote ... "

Un-retouched photo by Clay Gaunce of Ed McClanahan reading from "Famous People I Have Known" at a benefit show for Metropolitan Blues All*Stars bassist, Ricky Baldwin, at The Dame in Lexington, August 4, 2005.

BREAKING NEWS! I have a new project which has just supplanted THE RETURN OF THE SON OF NEEDMORE, my novel-in-(so-called)-progress, at the top of my to-do list: Suddenly and really quite unexpectedly, I find myself working not on my novel but on a memoir about myself and my father, which I'm calling "Hatchling of the Chickasaw." The provenance of this undertaking is sort of interesting in its own right, and is described in the first installment of the story, which has just been published in North of Center, a small activist Lexington monthly. You can read it now on the Writings page.

I've been working sporadically for the last several years on a novel which I usually describe as "a sort of left-handed, latter-day sequel" to THE NATURAL MAN, titled THE RETURN OF THE SON OF NEEDMORE, in which Harry Eastep, the point-of-view character in NATURAL MAN, returns to his hometown after a career in academia on the West Coast, and finds himself on the jury in a murder trial. Readers who remember NATURAL MAN may be interested to know that much of SON OF NEEDMORE is in the form of flashbacks, in one of which the late Monk McHorning makes a cameo appearance, and that Oodles Ockerman, who has survived the intervening years, also looms large (so to speak) in the foreground of the story. Sample chapters from the book — "Harry at the Breach," "Freejack," and "Poodad" — are posted on the "Writings" page of this website.

Copyright © 2005 - 2012 Ed McClanahan. All rights reserved.