Ted Geltner didn't simply discuss Blood, Bone, and Marrow, his new biography of Harry Crews, at the 2016 Decatur Book Festival on Sunday, September 4. He actually surprised and treated the lucky audience with readings of some of the newly discovered writings by Harry Crews he first mentioned back in June, including a side-splittingly funny poem Crews penned as part of a bet with a co-worker while working a stint at the Hunt's tomato canning factory in 1958 and an impassioned letter to Tanya, his inamorata (at least in his mind) in Nebraska, which showed off his writing ability ten years before he'd publish his first novel, The Gospel Singer. The audience was in stitches one minute and moved the next hearing the words of the fully alive 23 year-old Harry Crews out exploring the country by motorcycle in the spirit of Jack Kerouac. How uncanny that the date in the top right corner of the letter to Tanya marked 58 years to the day of when Ted Geltner shared it at the Decatur Book Festival.
"That is the most beautiful thing. That is this vibrant, dreamy, forceful kid, " gushed author Jessica Handler who interviewed Ted Geltner at the hugely entertaining event. "Like I said, it goes way back; he hadn't even written a novel yet at that point," Geltner concurred with equal amazement. "He's got the narrative sense and the suspense, and the language is colorful and heartfelt," she added about the letter to Tanya.