Around when I turned thirty, I wrote a novel about indie rock star Liz Phair. The book featured a character named “Camden Joy” and after I finished writing it I put the same name on the title page and thought, “Hey, how wild.” I began to write more things as Camden Joy, each an attempt to smudge the lines between music criticism, memoir, and fiction. There were stories, music reviews, pamphlets, manifestos, and postering projects. My writing felt curiously liberated under a pseudonym. I had a piece appear in Timothy McSweeney’s Windfall Republic and a few more published in the Village Voice. I read a story for This American Life. In 1998 Verse Chorus Press published my Liz Phair novel. Two years later, William Morrow published another novel, Boy Island. Both concerned the rock and roll world of the early nineties. Highwater Books published three novellas—Pan (co-written with Colin B Morton), Palm Tree 13, and Hubcap Diamondstar Halo. Dave Eggers selected this last for inclusion in Best American Non-Required Reading 2002. That same year, TNI Books published Lost Joy, my last Camden Joy book, which collected stories, pamphlets, and posters.
As Tom Adelman, I then wrote two nonfiction books about baseball, The Long Ball: The Summer of ’75—Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the Greatest World Series Ever Played (2003) and Black and Blue: the Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the World Series that Stunned America (2006). Little Brown published both titles. The first was a national bestseller.
I also write songs and play with The Oswalds.