Name: David Kirby
Position: Senior Advice Columnist
Stats: David Kirby has been a professor of English at Florida State University for more than 40 years, and is the author of some 30 books, including What is a book?, Little Richard: The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll, Ultra-Talk: Johnny Cash, The Mafia, Shakespeare, Drum Music, St. Teresa Of Avila, And 17 Other Colossal Topics Of Conversation, and more than a dozen volumes of poetry. He lives in Tallahassee, where he is married to poet Barbara Hamby. Learn more at www.davidkirby.com
In his own words: I’ve always been a good listener. From age ten on, I bartended my parents’ parties, and when everyone was good and soused, I steered tipsy ladies around the dance floor, their partners too far gone to do the box step. As they told me about their dreams and disappointments, I said 'That sounds like a good idea' or 'Oh, I don’t think I’d do that if I were you.'
That’s probably why I got into the literary racket: every story, poem, and play is one half of a conversation, and if you’re not talking back, then you’re missing a chance to jabber with Dante or Emily Dickinson or that friend of yours who has a manuscript he wants you to look at.
I’ve been around the block a couple of times since I poured highballs I was too young to drink, and I’ve talked to governors and blacksmiths, geniuses and stumblebums—to people who are geniuses and stumblebums at the same time, come to think of it, as most of us are on some level.
Now it’s your turn. Send me your questions about love, money, ethics, or anything except poetry (that’s my day job). If you’re living through it, I know somebody who traveled down the same highway, only it was twice as hairy, and they lived to tell the tale. I’ll draw on my experience to give you the best answer I can. And if I run into you down the road some day, you’ll tell me whether you’re drinking scotch or bourbon, and I’ll look up at you and adjust my little apron and say, 'You want water with that or soda?'
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