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Don talks too much: A recent interview

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Don talks too much: A recent interview
A few weeks back, I did an interview for Kathryn Schroeder on the site Ozy.com. This is the first time one of my interviews focused on the book Stay Home. If you like it when I talk too much, you’ll enjoy this interview.
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1. Why a book on not traveling? Do you dislike travel? Did you want to inform people of the realities of space before they book a flight on SpaceX?

Honestly, doing a book was just a great excuse to make more drawings. Warning readers about the inconveniences of space travel allowed me to draw creepy aliens and exotic space craft.

I think it is wonderful and inspiring that human beings are striving to rocket through space. There are many, far-worse things people can do with their time. But I’m naturally suspicious of the popular delusion that it is pleasant. I thought it would be humorous to make fun of the myth.

2. I travel full time (all year long), which made your book especially humorous for me because it can be related to any form of travel, in general. Did you plan on that? Is using space just a fun way to introduce the horrors of travel?

It’s not an accident that the problems of space travel are a lot like the problems of flying to a meeting in Grand Rapids. Before I retired, I traveled three out of four weeks on business, so I’m familiar with most of the things that can go wrong. I’m sure space travel is just like that but with greater distances. In making this book, I liked the idea that ordinary business travelers would recognize the classic vexations. 

3. Your background is in graphic design, right? Are you 100% retired now and just working on your fun projects? Did you expect such projects to keep you as busy as they do?

I had a long career helping clients solve problems. It was all great fun working for great people. But with Don 2.0 I wanted to focus on my own self-inflicted projects. I draw every day and some of my drawings deserve to be products. Crowdfunding, like Kickstarter, is ideal for these projects because risk is eliminated. If no one likes my idea, it can just fade away. I only need to make something if enough people like the idea to support a production run.

Because I’m only working on projects that delight me, I set the pace. So, my projects keep me exactly as busy as I want. As long as it remains fun, I plan to continue with projects like this until I can’t lift my pencil.

4. For the book, did the illustrations come first or the text? Meaning, did you conceive of these space aliens and such and then decide to give them a home in a space travel book or did they come from the idea for the story? 

The writing came first this time. I made a list of aggravations and then drew pictures.

5. What's your worst travel experience? Does a section of the book reference it in some way? Or more than one section? 

A friend once told me that plane travel is like “being extruded from one indignity to another.” I can’t argue with that. But no one really wants to hear another traveler’s road stories.

6. Are you still trying to master how to pack enough underwear (I’ve found 10 pairs is a lucky number)?

No one has truly mastered the art of packing. How could you? To be prepared when you are facing the unknown, you’d have to take literally everything. Philosophers have probably grappled with this for generations.

My tactic when I was traveling frequently was to never unpack. When you return from a trip, launder your stuff and put it back in your suitcase. Not a perfect system, but gradually it could move one closer to perfection.

7. What do you hope readers will get out of the book? What if it only makes them want to travel to space more than they do now? Are you okay with that?

What I really want the reader to get out of this book is a laugh or two.

I’m not opposed to space travel. I think it would be wonderful if more people would disappear into space. (I could come up with a list of nominations.) But, space travel is not on my personal bucket list. I’ll wait here.  

8. What's your favorite section of the book? Why? Do you chuckle when you read it?

I draw every day. The drawings I like best make me laugh. There’s something about each of the drawings in the book that delights me. But, I can’t look at the weightless astronaut floating upside down without smiling.

 

BookSpread

 

9. Why print and not digital versions? (I had to ask… :) )

picture someone slipping this book into the luggage of a friend departing on a trip. Perhaps with a warm, I’ll-miss-you note written on the title page. How nice. When has a PDF ever become a cherished memento?

 
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If you missed the Kickstarter project and want to pre-order the book, here’s the link.
Don
Pittsburgh, January 10, 2018

Comments on this post (1)

  • Jan 13, 2018

    I highly recommend this book….especially if you have friends or family members who’ve plunked down good money to reserve a seat on Virgin Galactic or SpaceX. It’s full of the kind of wisdom you don’t often find these days in such small and graphically superior packages. And it might just save a life!

    — Bob

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