Duncan P. Forgey– author of Flyin’ Kai: A Pelican’s Tale, in which Forgey has spun an inventive yarn, starting with a pelican occupying the center of the novel, and no shortage of talking animals(!) dotting the landscape—recalls growing up in Newport Beach, CA, and how that experience shaped the protect-the environment-and-wildlife themes coursing through his book. (As a related side note, we touch on some family lore, discussing how Forgey played a role in my being named Duncan: As kids, he and my older brother, Gordon, were good friends; his older brother is Gordon, too. So, when my Mom was pregnant with me, and my folks were considering boys’ names, my brother thought it’d be a neat parallel if they named his younger brother Duncan. He was surprised when they decided to do exactly that.) Forgey addresses the long and winding road Flyin’ Kai has traveled toward publication, a gestation period of 50-plus years, having taken the first stab at writing the story as a 20-year-old college senior at USC. A history major who hadn’t thought of himself as a writer, Forgey remembers being inspired in that direction by the monumental encouragement he received from one of his instructors, Anna Pearce Kramer, a writer and film executive (and former wife of director Stanley Kramer). I ask Forgey about the pelican in the room: that is, how he decided to make a pelican—the titular Kai (a quintessential adolescent)—the hero of his novel, urging him to cite the key traits of pelicans that gave him the impetus to build his book around one. He also speaks to the readership he’s aiming for, noting it could very likely appeal to the young adult (YA) audience, and could just as easily beckon older readers, distraught about the impact of climate change, and others in between. (https://www.duncanforgey.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DuncanForgeyAuthor, https://www.instagram.com/duncanforgey/)
ALSO: I spoke briefly with VeganEvan, at 12 years old, considered the World’s Youngest Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator. He explains the training in New York City he was required to undergo to earn that certification. VeganEvan says that while he hasn’t been hired by a client since becoming certified, he unofficially answers questions from new vegans, most commonly concerned about getting enough protein in the new lifestyle they’ve embraced. He definitely has something to say about this, noting the protein concern is actually counterintuitive. He’s scheduled to participate in the Animal Rights Panel, presented at the Tampa Bay Veg Fest, returning this year to Perry Harvey Sr. Park, Nov. 5, 11am to 5pm. He expresses his huge enthusiasm for the Panel and Veg Fest overall—he’s often been a speaker at this event. (I first interviewed him, tied to a Veg Fest appearance, five years ago, when he was seven.) When asked for a sneak preview of his talk at the Panel, he answers that one topic he’ll speak about is activism—the kind achieved by simple, everyday actions. (https://veganevan.com/, https://www.facebook.com/VeganEvan, https://www.instagram.com/VeganEvan/, http://www.tampabayvegfest.com/)
COMEDY CORNER: Tom Shillue’s “Animal Shows” (http://www.tomshillue.com/)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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