Author Archives: jcgeiger

If you grew up in a small town, or ever wondered why people care so much about football, or just want to read some of the best journalistic writing on the planet, I recommend Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger. It’s better than watching high school football. It’s better than the TV show by the same name, or watching James VanDerBeek say “I DON’T WANT. YOUR LIFE!”

It’s race, politics, corruption, seedy Texas, slick Texas, the origins of George Bush, and all sorts of other goodies. Read about what author Larry McMurtry described as the “Worst City in the World” and why football became their religion.

Reading this as part of the ongoing research for an upcoming book (working title Stillwell), which is mostly researching the culture of the town I grew up in. It’s been fascinating.  The route I traveled to this book is equally interesting. Recently went to go see Hanif Abdurraqib speak with Kaveh Akbar and Leslie Jamison at a killer panel by Literary Arts and went poring over his bibliography afterward. Turns out he wrote the forward to a book called Friday Night Lives which is a retrospective photo-driven project which intercuts photos of the players from Bissinger’s book with where they are decades later. I was curious why a poet/genius like Hanif Abdurraquib would be passionate enough about these books to write the forward – now I get it.

It’s high school football as a fascinating keyhole through which to peek in on humanity and small town America – and it hit plenty close to home.


Huge thanks to Heather Ransom, Willamette Writers, Josephine County Library, and Oregon Books & Games for just about the best visit an author could wish for. Some incredible sharing from the Young Willamette Writers crew, a warm reception (with cookies) at Oregon Books & Games, an epic dining experience at Oregon POUR Authority  and a chance to hang with authors like Heather and Casey Dunn? Yes please. Can’t wait for next time!

Winner of the Oregon Books & Games audio treasure hunt! Well done!

The setup.

Listening to some epic sharing from the online participants of the Young Willamette Writers workshop.


oregon book awards, ya book awards, jc geiger ya book award, jc geiger awards, oba geiger


Of all the awards — the Oregon Book Award holds so much magic for me. Legendary winners like Kesey, Le Guin, Palahniuk, Laini Taylor, April Henry — I mean, these are the people who made me want to be a writer. It’s also the first serious kind of award nod I’ve ever gotten, so I got to be jaw-dropping excited and jump all around the room and call my mom and all that good stuff. My parents are flying out for the awards ceremony which is that suspenseful kind of “open the envelope and see” affair which I really enjoy. So grateful Literary Arts pulls this whole thing together – can’t wait to see everyone on April 25! 


The Great Big One, novel, jc geiger

That guy eating waffles with my daughter? He’s a rock star. And he helped inspire The Great Big One.

(If you’re wondering about the whole liner notes concept, more here.)

Went down like this: Emily and I drifted into Thinking Tree Spirits on a random date. Nice vibe, mellow inside. Felt just like a Tuesday. One of the few guys in the place, cozied up in a corner, pulled out his guitar and the whole room went still. A player with the kind of talent that grabs hold of the room like it’s got a handle on it. The song was Young’s “Harvest Moon” – you could feel the harmonics buzz in your chest. Em and I listened, stared at each other, and cried. Alright — this just happens sometimes when we actually have a date. But that particular Cocktail of Tears was one part romance, two parts gin, three parts Matt Hopper.

Never had been a huge fan on Neil Young, or that song. Something about his playing cracked the tune wide open and made me fall in love with it forever. At the end of the set, Em and I introduced ourselves.

Within minutes, Matt told me something like – “I locked myself in a cabin in Alaska and did nothing but spin Neil Young tunes and play guitar for a month.” We loved him immediately. He’s like that. I gave him a copy of my 1st novel, then a few weeks later, texted him and asked if we could be friends. (For real. I’m still like a third grader passing notes.)

Since then, The Hop has blown into town now again for a No Shame show or a wild steampunk barn party. My daughter fell in love with him over breakfast at Off the Waffle. I’ve rocked out to Hopper on road trips, manic cooking adventures, garage cleaning sprees, and late night writing sessions. His renditions of “Harvest Moon” and “False Alarm” transformed pivotal sections of my novel. I can’t honestly say what the book would be like without him.

All this, and the guy is on tour in the Pacific Northwest RIGHT NOW!!! Go if you can. You’ll be inspired. You might even get a book out of it. ❤️

Liner Notes, Uncategorized
Portland Book Fest, Geiger Portland book fest, jc geiger portland

Sat, November 13 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST
Portland Parks Foundation Tent


Thrilled to announce I’ll be an in-person guest at the Portland Book Festival on Nov. 13, in conversation with Alissa Sallah and Kate Ristau on the topic of Stories of Friendship, Growing Older, and Growing Apart. Just got a copy of Alissa’s book. My son is heavy into anime right now and I felt — in a subtle nod — the addition of a few Cool Points to the Dad column when I lay WEEABOO on the table. Can’t wait to dive in. There will be a 15 minute Q&A and book signing afterward, solid Covid precautions taken. I really can’t wait to see real readers and real writers gathered together and not through a screen. Hope you can make it!



I’ve always loved liner notes. You know — the lyrics, photos, and messages included in the packaging for CDs, tapes, and records. Back in the day, part of questing for an album was seeing what the cover art looked like under the shrink wrap, how it would unfold in a paper accordion for cassette tapes; CDs had cool little booklets. I remember going through my dad’s record collection and how enormous the notes seemed – giant treasure maps, canvasses for lost art, tour photos, abstractions. I remember Thick As a Brick. The Wall. August and Everything After – a cover with faded cursive lyrics to a song that didn’t even make it onto the album. What a mystery! I loved listening straight through for the first time, flipping pages. You could feel the whole mythos of the work swirling, sinking in.

After being steeped in music for The Great Big One, I thought: What about liner notes for a book? Sure, the book already exists in print — but to me, liner notes were always about the space just outside the circumference of the main artistic product. Everything that couldn’t quite make it into the book or onto the album. Pictures, inspiration, research, anecdotes, drawings, mysteries. Since books are something we can already hold and turn the pages for, maybe liner notes could be digital.

I’m going to give it a try. I’m even going to give it a hashtag, so if this happens to be a social media project I actually manage to follow through with, one day I can type #thegreatbigone #linernotes and have a whole collection of videos, photos, deleted scenes and sections, everything surrounding a book that was – for several years – roughly the size of my life.

Liner Notes

You found it. 


FIND AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU  & complete the form below!

The Great Big Mixtape – FAQs

What is this tape exactly?

The tape is a simulation of a late-night radio broadcast inspired by The Great Big One. There are clues embedded in the songs, lyrics, and static pointing the way to bookstores where we’ve hidden various treasures. There is a very limited run of tapes, all made possible through the generosity of contributing artists.

How can I get the tape?

You can buy the book at an independent bookstore and present proof of purchase through this website. If you do – while supplies last – we will mail you a tape. You may also seek the cassette at independent bookstores. There will be some floating out there in the world, but you’ll have to get lucky.

What’s an independent bookseller?

Here’s a good store locator, but it’s not exhaustive.

Can I buy this tape?

Rock and roll is not for sale and neither is the mixtape.

Are you making money on this tape?

No. This is a limited, self-financed project. Most of the artists contributed for free, and it’s been an amazing chance to connect with some of my musical heroes.

When will I get the tape? 

We’ve got about a two-week turnaround while supplies last (they’re going fast!)

Which songs are on the tape?

It’s a surprise. Like a late night radio broadcast.

Which songs are rare and unreleased?

Part of the surprise.

How about a concert with all the bands on the tape? Can we do that?

Can we please?? It would be a dream come true.