What’s the hardest part of being an author?
For 45 years of my life I have worked at writing averaging around 340 days a year. This includes times when I worked as many as 5 jobs. One needs discipline. There is an ancient Roman proverb which translated says: “Nothing is greater than the diligent life.” I believe this. I use it as a sub-quote from chapter two of my general philosophy book, The Good, The True, and The Beautiful (Bloomsbury, 2009).
Can you give us a short synopsis of Rainbow Curve?
There are two stories set out in consecutive chapters: the first in 1970 and the second in 1980. Story one concentrates upon a teenager, Philip (Bo) Mellan who has been recently orphaned. Bo lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA). He is “saved” by an African American who runs a dry-cleaning business but used to be a pitcher in the Negro Baseball Leagues.
This runs contrary to the normal narrative of a European descent individual “saving” an African American. In this case the roles are reversed: an African American saves an orphaned European descent American.
Bo has talent as a baseball pitcher and his mentor Rainbow Billy Beauchamp sells his dry cleaning business and creates a traveling baseball team that will play in Mexico and the Caribbean to make money. Things happen and the team ceases to exist after one season.
Story Two. Bo tries out for a United States baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. He is talented and makes the team. However, Chicago politics and racial tensions create various problems.
The two stories dramatically come together in the last chapter of the book.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I was a philosophy professor at Marquette University I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two doors down from me was a man, Willie Smith, who had pitched in the Negro Baseball League. This league existed because African Americans were not allowed to play in the segregated Major League. Willie used to tell me stories about pitching and barnstorming. These stories fascinated me and I wanted to capture them in a novel.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
I write two hours each day and try to read three hours each day.
Name your top five favorite books.
This is a difficult question because I have been creating a work representing my taste in books for forty years. I call it “My Favorite 500 Novels.” In this work are reviews of works that I believe are important (some reviewed multiple times). If I were to interpret the question as asking about novels, then I might say, Middlemarch, George Eliot; Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy; Sodome et Gomorrhe, Marcel Proust, U.S.A., Jon Dos Passos; and As I lay Dying, William Faulkner.
What are you working on now?
I am finishing the last book of my De Anima sequence entitled Maya. It is a family saga that explores the role of fate in human life. I am also editing a collection on the Greek classicist and philosopher Arthur William Hope Adkins for the University of Chicago Press.
Title: Rainbow Curve
Author: Michael Boylan
Buy a ticket for a bus ride taking you from North to Central to South America and a boat ride to the Caribbean along with a traveling baseball team. Discover baseball in all its mythical allure: Rainbow Curve is a compelling tale about race, politics, corrupting power and one man’s courage to stand up against it.
An aging baseball player, his multi-cultural teammates, a domineering manager, and a South American drug lord—are all brought together in Rainbow Curve, a gripping novel that explores the international baseball scene. Moving from training camps in Sun City, Arizona, to Wrigley Field in Chicago, to a mountain citadel in Columbia, author Michael Boylan expertly draws connections between America’s favorite pastime, cultural power, and ethical choice.
-Linda Furgerson Selzer, Associate Professor of English/ Penn State University.
Michael Boylan writes like a true baseball fan. Rainbow Curve is a novel filled with more than 9 innings of history. From barnstorming and tales about the Negro Leagues to the Chicago Cubs, Boylan examines the life of players on and off the field. Bo Mellan, Rainbow Billy Beauchamp and Buddy Beal are just some of the characters who give this novel a high batting average. Baseball is not just a game about balls and strikes, it’s also about economics, race, youth and growing old. Rainbow Curve is a reminder of why we sing “God Bless America” at the ball park.
- E. Ethelbert Miller, Literary Activist and author of The 5th Inning.
Michael Boylan is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Marymount University. He is the author of 26 books and over 120 articles in Philosophy and Literature. Details can be found at michaelboylan.net.