Dublin Galyean, former LAUSD English teacher, has published his first novel, Bougainvillea Blues. Galyean, born in east Texas, grew up in San Diego, CA and uses both settings for this coming of age story. After graduating from UCSD in biology, he took a short stab at an acting career that led to performing as a teacher of ESL (English as a Second Language) and then to teaching literature analysis at adult schools, mostly to eager immigrant students. After reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, years of journal writing translated into what would become Bougainvillea Blues. In 2007, he earned an M.A. in English from CSULA for a much shorter version. He now lives in the sprawl of Los Angeles with his wife and an enormous pepper tree.
Synopsis: Just before facing a secret that will stun the family, Joey’s world collides with the gorgeous Gloria. In the breezy warm air of 1960’s San Diego, with rock and roll in the background, the boy who likes to watch from a distance is forced to make the first grownup decisions of his life.
Bougainvillea Blues captures an America that had not yet begun to face the Vietnam anti-war movement in full force, before Camelot died with the assassination of John Kennedy, six years before Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot down, and just months before the cold war reached its terrifying apex in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then a sheltered white middle class boy could still believe that his most important job was to find a girl. Rock and roll told him what to expect from sexual love, and TV sitcoms showed him how mothers and fathers were supposed to act in happy families.
Bougainvillea Blues is the heartfelt coming of age story of Joey Norton, a twelve-year-old boy. Sex, love, and voyeurism: Joey is trying to figure it all out. When his world collides with the gorgeous Gloria, the boy who likes to watch is forced to participate in his own life for the first time.
A smothering mother, neighborhood boys with their own code of sexuality, and a father with secrets that will stun the family and force Joey to make the first grown-up decisions of his life turn up the heat on a story of love and loss see in the breezy, warm air of 1960’s San Diego
21 Things You Should Know About This Author
What book have you gifted the most? Why?
Recently it has been Younger Next Year because it spells out what people my age need to do physically to have a decent life: serious aerobics four times a week and strength/mobility training twice weekly, for the rest of our lives.
What is the one productivity tool you use every day?
Not quite every day, but I’ve begun to implement the “Getting Things Done” system created by Dave Allen. Without something like this, I get overwhelmed with all I want to do.
What word do you misspell most often?
Any with one double consonant and another that may or may not doubled, like accommodate and commitment.
What three things do you do to be a successful writer?
I’m giving you four. You can eliminate one. 1) Goal of writing almost daily, 2) skipping from project to project depending on what attracts me that day (see Life Work by Donald Hall), 3) staying in contact with people who encourage me not to give up, and 4) surrounding myself with inspiring quotes (about writing or art in general) like “Fall down seven times, get up eight” or “An artist cannot fail. It is a success to be one.”
What are the titles of the last two books you have read?
On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder and Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.
What is your favorite word?
What do you use more often – a dictionary or a thesaurus?
What would you name the autobiography of your life?
Not as Bad as You Thought, Huh?
What is your ‘go to’ munchie or drink while writing?
Tea and pistachio nutmeats. Or any fresh fruit.
Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
I think a picture is faster than a thousand words, but words represent sounds that echo within us for years. A few words can represent more than a thousand pictures, say the frames of a movie. For instance: “Never was there a story of more woe, than that of Juliet and her Romeo.”
What animal are you most similar to and why?
A coyote. I like being around people, but often at a distance as an observer. Also, I’m curious, I’m a survivor, and I’m fit. Finally, I love the mystery surrounding this ultimate mammal adapter.
How would your best friend describe you?
He’s hard on himself, shows up, and perseveres.
What keeps you up at night? (and don’t say howling dogs)
If a dog kept me up, it would be our dog, but fortunately she sleeps through the night.
Asking “Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?” can keep me up.
What is one thing you will never do again?
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare?
Possibly a large salad with blueberries, avocado, romaine and red leaf lettuces, watermelon chunks, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
What is the best compliment you have received – or would like to receive?
A former student once told me that he now reads books because of me.
What question do you hate to answer?
Can’t think of one.
Crowds, small groups or ‘go away’?
I like all three, but want to choose when.
What would you sing at Karaoke night?
Desperado (The Eagles)
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Caution: Easily excited.
What is the one question you wished I would have asked you? Why?
Why do you write? Because that would force me to articulate one more time the motivation behind what I love to do and what I never feel I do well enough or often enough.