Monday, September 29, 2014

Thank You!! The book goes into its 3rd printing.

Dear Readers, Friends, and casual Acquaintances,

I'm happy to announce that Chasing a Croatian Girl a.k.a Propuh, Papuče i Punica is going into its third printing!

So, a big thank to those of you who bought it, a bigger thanks to those who bought it, wrote me, or reviewed it on goodreads. And if you're reading this and haven't checked it out, what are you waiting for?

Hvala Vam

Cody

Monday, September 22, 2014

Communism to an American Kid


And in America we line up like this on the most capitalist day of the year, Black Friday

As much as Croatia feels like home now, it’s funny when I think back to how I must have imagined life in Croatia (err… Yugoslavia) when I was a kid. You all were the bad guys, the poor suffering souls, the Others. And now, you’re family and friends.

Growing up in the mid-1980s, communism and Star Wars were intricately link in my mind. I feel as if I was born into a world consumed by both phenomena, the Marxist-Leninist workers’ paradise and the galactic space opera. Luke Skywalker, the Soviet Union and the Cold War were just always there.(Reagan’s Strategic Missile Defense Initiative was even given the nickname: Star Wars). Star Wars was front and center, while the global politics at the time were somewhere in the background, on the periphery of my consciousness, tied in the gordian conversation of grownups, on the evening news, and even in some of our Saturday morning cartoons.

Now I find myself not only living in a former socialist country, once part of the Eastern Bloc (and yes, I know not a Warsaw Pact member), but also intimately involved with people who grew up, worked and lived under socialism. To put this in the right context, this is like watching G.I. Joe and then marrying into a family and making friends with people that lived in that town Cobra built. But since so many of my readers lived under communism and didn’t watch the G.I. Joe cartoon, I’m not even sure if many of you will get the reference (it could also be because you’re not geeks). Maybe it would be better to compare it to meeting people that actually lived in Darth Vader’s Galactic Empire.  

When I was five years old my father said something about communism and I asked him what it was. He told me, and this is entirely true: that under communism you don’t have to pay for anything. Yet, he made this sound like it was somehow a bad thing. And do you know what I imagined? Literally, I imagined being able to go into a store and take all of the Star Wars toys without paying for them. Communism. sounded. awesome. 

Later, my ideas of life under communism devolved into a colorless world. Where everyone wore grey smocks and stood in long lines for the most basic things. I think some of this came from a seeing a few scenes from the film 1984 and equating the film with communism. 

By far the most influential piece was an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks where the pop-singing trio travel to West Berlin. The cartoon depicted the division of Berlin via a separated brother and sister, as well as the oppression of the Stasi. At the end the Chipmunk’s song brings down the Berlin Wall (take that David Hasselhoff!).

And that’s pretty much how I saw it all until I first began coming to Croatia in 2007. All of my prejudices came crashing down when I was looking at a family photo album and saw how stylish people were back in the 1980s. They were still more stylish than Oklahomans! Under socialism! Where were the smocks? There was color! 

I certainly don’t understand socialism or communism in the same way as the people that lived under it, but I also see it with more nuance than I would have had I never moved to Croatia. 

I’m interested to know what everyone thought about America when they grew up watching Dynasty, listening to Michael Jackson, and getting packages from family in Pittsburgh.   


Here’s Alvin in the Chipmunks bringing down the Berlin Wall.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

To be a Splićanin


I envy the citizens of Split. Not because the city is beautiful, not for the sea, the salt, the rocks, or the seagulls (now I’m just listing what they sing about), but because of their love for Split. For the citizens of Split, or Splićani, there is a sense that all you need is Split, and Split is all you need.
This is a feeling that is unfamiliar to me. I only like my hometown as much as I don’t really hate it. While growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I always had the sense that I would leave. It seemed certain, inevitable. As if there was some force, pushing me to uproot myself like a tumbleweed and roll across the West’s arid landscape.
A nation of nomads
The need to leave, the yearning to go, is as American as wearing white socks with shoes. It’s inescapable and we do it everywhere. Since I was 19, I’ve lived in 3 states, 4 countries, and 11 apartments. Scratch any American and you will most likely find a similar story. Maybe not one with such international flavor, but moving houses, towns, and states is the norm in America. We are a country of immigrants turned into nomads. Try to find someone whose is actually from New York, LA, San Francisco, or Washington D.C. You can’t. Almost everyone is from somewhere else.
Best. Place. Ever!
I think the difference between Splićani and say a Tulsan is best expressed in Split’s favorite phrases: Split je najlipše misto na svitu and tko to može platit (‘Split is the prettiest place in the world’ and ‘who could pay for this,’ which really is a much longer way of saying something is priceless). The locals’ love for Split is unequivocal.
It’s nice but…
Where, as a Tulsan I am more likely to put all kinds of qualifiers in a description of my city. Tulsa is pretty, at times, and depending on where you happen to be standing, but its much prettier than Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City sucks! See? It’s not so much about how good Tulsa is, but about how it could be worse, like OKC. Not Split. Split is all superlatives.    
Do I miss Tulsa? Oklahoma? America? Not really. I miss my family and some of the junk food that I can’t get here. And this is the difference between me and Splićani. It’s easy to leave what you know you won’t miss. Among those unfortunate Splićani whose circumstance pushes them to move from Split, there remains a longing to return (I know this because I’m married to a girl from Split and every time we go anywhere, we go to Split… Where should we go for… … SPLIT!…oh, OK.).
Sunny with envy
My whole adult life has been about moving. Ah, but to be a Splićanin and feel such fulfillment from your hometown. To know, in your very bones, that you have always been where you want to be… that is something I can hardly imagine and only envy.
(This piece was originally published here: http://voiceofcroatia.hrt.hr/blog/87597/)

Friday, July 11, 2014

My other blog.

Hi Readers,

After meeting many of you at the book signing and promotion event in Zagreb, I learned that a lot of people aren't aware of my other blog. I know Zablogreb has not been updated in a few months and the "other" blog is the reason. It's weekly and deals with a lot of the same things Zablogreb deals with. So, if you'd like to check it out, it's published every Friday on The Voice of Croatia. I talk about things like throwing potatoes at people, Alan Ford comics, and I'm sure propuh and punica are in there somewhere.

Enjoy. And thanks for reading.

-Cody

Sunday, July 6, 2014

ZAGREB BOOK PROMOTION


I'm happy to announce the Zagreb promotion for Propuh, Papuče, i Punica Thursday 7.10 at 18.30 at Algoritam Profil Mozaik MEGASTORE on Bogovićeva!

 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dear readers, I'm happy to announce a promotion for my new book. This Saturday (21.06) in Split, Croatia at Joker shopping mall at 19.00! If you are around the area, please come so I can meet you, kiss you, hug you, or just gently shake your hand. 

Cody