In Hitchhiking With Larry David, author Paul Samuel Dolman spends a sultry summer in Martha's Vineyard nursing a heartbreak, which he subsequently distills and slathers onto the pages of his second book in a unique healing balm of words ripe and rich with humor, wisdom and spirituality.
With the impending close of Nashville's only full-service independent book store, I am vowed more than ever to support local writers. It's a committment I made when, six years ago, I ventured into this foreign land of book publishing. Despite the doom and gloom of the publishing scene, writers still write. God bless us. It is our unquenched voices thirsting to tell our stories that propels our offerings of words. My friend Paul Dolman has written a worthy offering.
One of the reasons writers have such a tough time of it with Big City-Big Name publishing houses is because they are deemed as not yet having a recognizeable-marketable brand. Likewise, if you don't live in Nashville, you may not recognize the name Paul Dolman. Then again, you may, whether you live here or anywhere he has ventured. Dolman is unforgettable if you've met him and his second published book is Paul Dolman incarnate. And a very good read whether you know him or not.
Hitchhiking with Larry David, is a true story based in Martha's Vineyard, where author and native Floridian, Dolman, has spent his summers since he was wee one. During Nashville's non-extreme weather months he's a fixture at the Whole Foods latte bar here.
His 200-plus page paperback is based on accounts of frequent thumb-hooking rides with the likes of the book's eponomously named Larry David, the creator of hit sitcom Seinfeld, and with real characters Dolman dubs "Billionaire Bob", "Hollywood Birdman" and "Big Builder Ben," among others. (Meg Ryan, Ted Danson and Henry Gates make just-short-of cameo appearances.) The frequent traveling Dolman, who has never met a stranger, once introduced himself to Sidney Potier at a poolside restaurant in L.A., sat down and formed a friendship. Big name, "no name," or homeless, folks are charmed by Dolman, who, in Hitchhiking with Larry David, spins a charming tale of loss, love and a special Miracle. (Dolman's first book was What Matters Most: Intimate Interviews with Notable Nashvillians.)
Among many funny-bone tickling yarns, his relations with his aging parents are laugh-out loud yet poignantly relevant, such as: "I tried to sit with him in the Sacred Television Temple and watch the news. Or, as I like to call it, 'What Went Wrong Today,' [my sentiments exactly,] but the endlessly-talking-well-coifed-heads drive me crazy. I look to find a shred of truth among the carnival barkers, but any sustained viewing leaves me intellectually emaciated. Why would he spend his precious time focused on the insanity in the world and television's constant message of fear and consumption?"
In Hitchhiking with Larry David, Dolman spends a summer nursing a heartbreak, which he subsequently distills and slathers onto the pages of his book in a unique healing balm rich and ripe with humor, wisdom and spirituality. "Intones" "The Great Mongolian Donut Sage," a reappearing character in the book: "We must learn to forgive those who hurt us[....] No sense carrying around the deadening weight of pain."
Dolman in real life and in the book about his real life asks "the questions." The author launched a multi-year search for meaning after succeeding in the entertainment business--work that left him feeling "empty." After selling his house, his black bimmer, my friend's been asking the questions while humoring and charming an amazing variety of folks that frequently cross his path. Hitchhiking with Larry David is a charming glimpse into a charmed world. Big publishers may not know who Paul Dolman is yet, but in the meantime, his first book is worth a read for the rest of us.
Writes Dolman after a particularly moving soul-wrenching walk one of the Vineyard's beaches: "True freedom comes not in finding the answers, but from joyfully living with the questions." I'm glad he dared to ask the questions and shared the quest with the rest of us via Hitchhiking with Larry David.