Narrator: Derek Neumann
Length: 3 hours 35 minutes
Publisher: Dark Victory Press⎮2020
Release date: May 26, 2020
If you're a fan of David Sedaris, Erma Bombeck, or Andy Rooney, you'll love Brad Graber's new release What's that Growing in My Sour Cream? - a compilation of over 70 humorous essays on the joys, challenges, and absurdities of life in America. Drawn from Graber's blog "There, I Said It!" Graber introduces listeners to his sharp observations on everyday subjects such as Facebook friends, the odd messages stuffed into fortune cookies, and awkward man hugs. A bold new voice, Graber's humor and wit are on full display in What's that Growing in My Sour Cream?
Interview with Brad Graber
I’ve been writing the blog since October 2016. I started it after the publication of my debut novel The Intersect as a way to stay connected to readers and to share a bit about myself.
Tell us about the name of the blog? How did you come up with it?
It’s an expression I’ve come to use in my life. Usually, when I’m frustrated. Typically, it comes out of my mouth after I’ve said something that I’ve been struggling not to say. Something that’s really bugging me and finally, I just can’t hold it in any longer. So after I say whatever it is that’s pressing my buttons, there will be a There, I Said It!
You have a variety of everyday topics that you discuss in the blog. Can you share a few with us? And which is your favorite?
I’m pretty attached to them all, but the one that stands out for me is “Why Can’t We Bequeath Our Friends When We Die”. That was written just after my friend Harold passed away. I’d been at the hospital with him and he was surrounded by this amazing group of people. Friends he’d had for over forty years. And each person held a special meaning for him. And as I stood in the room and watched all the love pour forth, I thought about how wonderful it would be to actually inherit some of these wonderful people. It just seems a shame that at the end of our lives we have wills to bequeath worldly possessions but not a way of sharing the lovely people who are the real treasures of our lives.
Why pull these blogs together into one collection? What was the motivation?
At first, I wasn’t sure that I’d do it. But then, I’d heard from readers about how much they enjoy the essays and I began to wonder if there wasn’t an opportunity to gather them together and share them with a wider audience. And when I looked through the collection, I realized that the blog is so much more than just ramblings. Some of the pieces were inspirational. Some were insightful. Some, just clever and witty. That’s when I realized that the collection might actually be fun to read from start to finish.
The pieces tend to run between 350 and 500 words. Is that your preferred style?
Let me just say upfront, if you’re writing a weekly blog, 350 to 500 words feels like more than enough. First, most readers don’t have the time to read every piece. Since my blog is distributed by email, I know the actual click rates. You have to keep it short. Otherwise, no one is going to read it. Also, you have to provide some sort of value-added appeal. Something that brings a smile to the reader’s face. A simple recognition of a truth that we all share. Finally, some essays are written in a matter of an hour or two, others take days of editing till I finally achieve the exact point that I’m trying to make. So the commitment to the work is the same as if you’re writing a novel.
Tell us about humor. Most of the pieces have a unique twist.
They do. And that is what I try for. To squeeze every bit or irony, sarcasm, wisdom, and wit out of each subject matter. I’m not usually asking for feedback. In other words, I’m not anticipating engagement from my audience which according to the experts makes me a poor blogger. But, I’m hoping to bring a smile to the reader. A moment of recognition. That’s my goal. And it’s always an added bonus when someone writes me a note letting me know that they’ve enjoyed a piece. That makes it all worthwhile.
Your bio proclaims that you “grew up in a family where no one never listened to me – so I write fiction to get even”. Is that true?
I grew up in New York City in an eight-story Co-op apartment building with twenty-two families on a floor. My parents had a lot of friends and there were always people around. There was also a lot of talking at the dinner table when our extended family gathered together to discuss the issues of the day or just gossip. I was the youngest, and so I spent hours listening to these conversations, taking it all in. No one held back their opinion. You truly couldn’t get a word in edgewise. These were adults with lots to say and they weren’t shy about saying it. In fact, they were extremely loud. All you could do was try to stay out of the line of fire.
Has that helped shape what is important to you as a writer?
I learned a lot sitting at that kitchen table. I’m all about the human condition. The relationships that we form. How people show up in our lives when we need them most. How injustice presents. How good people cope with injustice. These are the subjects that fascinate me.
What is your next project?
I’ve been working on a third novel, Boca by Moonlight. It’s the story of a widower who must learn how to recreate a life after the death of his wife. It should be available in 2021.
Brad Graber writes novels because he grew up in a family where no one listened to him – so he made up stories about them. He’s the award-winning author of The Intersect and After the Fall, and writes a humor blog: There, I Said It! He currently resides in Phoenix with his husband, Jeff.
About the Narrator: Derek Neumann
Derek Neumann is actor and voice professional in the recording arts and sciences who has studied at both the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the British Academy's Midsummer at Oxford’s Shakespeare program.