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The Fist in the Velvet Glove — my friend Larry Long shows us how to rage against the machine

One of the chapters in my most recent book, Dancing with the Gods, was called “The Fist in the Velvet Glove”.  It was about the power of art to create political and social change.  A perfect example is this new song by my friend, Larry Long — a man whose mentor was Pete Seeger and who walks the walk with more conviction than anyone else I know.  I hope you enjoy it.

A conversation about my book, Dancing with the Gods: Reflections on Life and Art

Books come into the world in different ways. Some come in announcing themselves and beating a drum, others enter the room quietly, take their seat, and wait to be called upon. Dancing with the Gods is one of the quiet ones.

When I was writing Dancing with the Gods, the publisher and editor kept wanting a more celebratory, anthemic book about the significance of the arts.

I resisted.

“No,” I said, “This is a reflective book for the artist — particularly the young artist — who wants to know about the unspoken and often unrecognized issues of living the creative life.” I actually wanted the subtitle to be, “The hidden joys and unseen challenges of a life in the arts”.

Now that the book is out, it is making its way just as I suspected it would — as a quiet companion, an intimate guidebook for those on the artistic journey.

I know this book. I know its heart. My old friend, David Crumm, who writes the highly respected online journal, Read the Spirit, saw that heart and engaged me in a conversation about the book. You can read some of our conversation here:

As you probably know by now, I am one of the worst authors on the planet in terms of self-promotion which, sadly, is much of the lifeblood of the contemporary publishing industry. For me, the books are the thing, not the author behind them. So I don’t do well going out in front and functioning as a literary carnival barker. I leave it to you to find my books and to decide whether or not they touch you in some way.

But I do want to raise the flag for Dancing with the Gods. If you practice any of the creative arts, or if you have a friend or son or daughter who aspires to be an artist, you should take a look at this book and pass it along. It will be worth your while.