Her literary debut, If Crows Could Speak, which tracked a ten year stab at communicating with crows, broke all sales records for non-digital entertainment in Flubug (previously stuck at 13) and topped The Bugle Best Seller List for three months straight. It only faltered when Crotch Johnson’s incendiary memoir, Burnin’ Rubber, hit the shelves with a tsunami of top sellers like Dorothy Plath’s The Bell Jug, Nick Carz’ History of Lotto in Down County and Sonata’s poignant coming-of-age story, Summer of Hiss.
But three months on the best seller list is something to crow about.
We caught up with Karen outside the abandoned Graphite Cornerz Tourist Information Center where she’s currently writing a sequel to Crows called If Crows Gave a Damn.
Bugle: Your first book, though fascinating, documented a compete failure to communicate with crows on any meaningful level for a period of ten years. Did your dismal performance leave you with animosity toward the species?
Goodwell: [laughs] I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Crouching in wet grass with a microphone and cassette player for ten years took a serious toll on my health, to say nothing of my marriage. So, yes, I suppose I hold a grudge against the little bastards.
Bugle: Do you think their refusal to speak was a reflection on you personally?
Goodwell: You never like to think that. A scientist has to stay objective, especially in the field.
Bugle: Was that objectivity challenged at times? For example, in Chapter Ten you describe chasing a family of crows with a baseball bat screaming ‘Talk, you sons of bitches!’
Goodwell: [smiling] I can see how that might come across as non-objective. In reality that was just me having a very human moment after years of research into a species that, frankly, doesn’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.
Bugle: Your newest project seems to reflect that conclusion. Would you say you’ve grown disillusioned with the species?
Goodwell: Disillusioned? Nah, I don’t have a problem with crows. It’s crows that have the problem. They strut around, pecking trash, squawking at each other like nobody understands them. Well, after ten years I know damn well what they’re saying.
Goodwell: Might as well have.
Bugle: And you understand it?
Goodwell: Bits and pieces.
Bugle: So what are they saying when they talk among themselves?
Goodwell: That they just don’t give a shit. That’s why I’m writing the sequel. Well, that and the fact my mom got kicked out of her RV park.
Bugle: What do you say to those who question your conclusions, your scientific training and, really, your whole line of research?
Goodwell: I’d say get your own ass out here and live with these ungrateful thieves. Take, take, take. That’s all they do. If I had half the money I blew on sunflower seeds I’d be in Downslope Estates getting a pedicure drinkin’ Nail Guns.
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Goodwell’s sequel, If Crows Gave a Damn, will be out this September. Readers who clicked and declined to purchase Karen Goodwell’s books also showed no interest in these titles: