The University of Iowa

Just Checking In: UI Press author Tom Rastrelli

April 24, 2020

In these strange and difficult times, the University of Iowa Press, with the Writing University, is reaching out to its authors to gain perspective, advice, humor and connection. We want to know how they are doing, first and foremost: we are primarily checking in. But we also want to know how they are living (or surviving, or managing) with the pandemic that surrounds all of us. We are a family here -- the press, the authors, the university -- and this is what families do: we check in.


Today's author conversation is with Tom Rastrelli. Rastrelli is the author of Confessions of a Gay Priest, published by the University of Iowa Press. He is the director of digital communications at Willamette University. He lives in Salem, Oregon.


What book(s) do you recommend for this time of isolation?

For fellow theatre lovers who are inspired by other artists who are at the top of their creative game, read "Hamilton: The Revolution." It will give you a creative boost!

What are 3 good things that happened today?

1. My family and I stayed healthy. 2. I made an investment in the future by planting four saplings that I started from seed two years ago. 3. My tulips began opening.

What is your isolation playlist? (Could be a list, screenshot of your spotify playlist or link, etc.)

I recommend listening to the greats in a genre you are unfamiliar. If you've never listened to Beethoven's symphonies, start with No. 9, then go back to No. 1 and listen to them in order all the way through no. 9 again. You need roughly an hour per symphony, a cozy fire and your favorite beverage. Then go through Mahler's symphonies. I'm working on Bruckner now.

Could you share an image of your new “coworker(s)” (pets, kids, etc.) or your new "office" (my desk is literally in a closet)?

No new office for me. Just doing double time at home for my day job and my writing career.