When journalist Bill DeYoung moved to Savannah and started writing I thought it couldn’t possibly be the same person from the Gainesville Sun — where I wrote obituaries and feature stories as an intern — who made a tape (whoa! what’s a tape?) for me of great tunes, a tape that meticulously included artist and name of song. Sure enough. What a prodigious writer, entertaining singer and incredibly competent actor. Here we are with our respective books at a local author’s day at the Book Lady, Bill holding mine, “The Dirt on Jane,” and me holding his new book, “Skyway, the true story of Tampa Bay’s signature bridge and the man who brought it down,” a really good read.
A reader’s poll from Connect Savannah, a weekly newspaper
Best of Savannah: Arts & Culture 2013
Best Local Author
Savannah’s grande dame of the garden garners her second win in a row as our favorite person to read with her foxily funny and achingly poignant “anti-memoir,” The Dirt on Jane.
Like a sturdy jasmine vine, the book’s fan base has blossomed steadily since it was published in 2011, flying off the “local author” shelves of The Book Lady and E. Shavers Booksellers as well as Brighter Day and Victory Feed & Seed.
Within the pages of The Dirt on Jane, the longtime newspaper columnist writes about her now-deceased mother’s decline, some of Savannah’s not-so-savory neighborhoods and of course, what sprouts from the fertile grounds of her multiple garden plots. A favorite at this year’s Savannah Book Festival, the book’s following continues to grow as it also touches on themes of relevance and mortality.
“I think, really, the book is about getting older,” considers Fishman. “What do you do after a certain age? It’s a question that people don’t talk about very much.”
While she sells a few other copies here and there at occasional speaking engagements at garden clubs and other civic groups, she admits that she’d rather be tilling a new patch of sorrel in the driveway or weeding the lilies than self-promoting. “I’m not that proactive,” she deadpans with her characteristic sly grin.
She is currently at work on a new book of longer essays, though her unorthodox writing process often involves trips out to her resplendent and eccentric Boundary Street garden, where she also hosts an epic plant swap twice a year.
Jane lives on a sunny street in the Parkside neighborhood with artist Carmela Allifi, two funny little dogs named Charlie and Frida and a bunch of broody chickens.
— Jessica Leigh Lebos