Author, Chef and Creative Julién Godman

In Conversation on the Release of His First Book, a Collab with a Mexico City Based Publisher

Julién Godman

Julién Godman is many things—Traveler, Entrepreneur, Chef, Maker of Teas—but in this moment he is a writer. This month the Detroit-based creative releases his first book of short stories, Andanzas, Vol. I, Friends, in collaboration with the Mexican-based publisher, Ban Pang Editorial.

We caught up with Godman for the full scoop.

Julien Godman

Julien Godman


CV Henriette: So, you’re releasing a book, how’d that come about? Is this your first?
Julién Godman: I’ve been in some small obscure books before, excerpts and essays and the like. I did an essay on West Village for the Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook, but yep, this is my first book! More of a booklet, but I say book—it’s small but just what I imagined.
I didn’t even know I was writing one at first. It came about through my friend Mariana in Mexico. We were going to partner on a series of little magazines on Armenian food topics, based on my travels in Armenia. That food book never transpired, but I found myself piecing together short stories on friendship.
CVh: Sneak peek? 
JG: Here are two tiny excerpts from my book. Each of the four stories is quite different, speaking on differing facets of friendship.
1) Excerpt from the short story Tolstoy, Friend Unconditional:”
Sun sits in wild patches, happily panting. We were little ones. We were unaware of the many hurtful, haunting, to-come prickers in near grass. Because we were just runners.
2) Excerpt from the short story Friends Who are Here:”
Today, I am standing in a Detroit downtown hotspot – Urban Bean Co. It is orange, very bright orange. As I stand I notice the walkers in the slush. Slush in the City of Detroit, more slush Middle America.
CVh: Have you always been a writer? 
JG: In some sense, yes. I used to write page poetry. Then food writing. Now I write essays, social & cultural pieces, and ‘way-off-the-beaten-path’ travelogues. I also used to illustrate and loved drawing when I was a kid. I feel like it’s all connected—expressive tidbits on my journey.
CVh: You’re Detroit based, but your publisher’s in Mexico. How’d that come together? 
JG: Ban Pang Editorial is a small print publisher in Mexico, recently started by a friend of mine, Mariana Ayón RV. Besides wanting to work with her because of our friendship, I felt working with a publisher outside of the States, someone who often has differing linguistic and social perspectives would be a refreshing and enlightening approach to my content and style. Plus, Latin America, with roots in Magical Realism, is a good match for my writing that often treads the line between creative nonfiction and fictional prose.
CVh: A reading is a reading, but I have a feeling this one’s special? Care to elaborate? 
JG: It will be a 2-hour block of exploratory, innate human experiences. That is my hope. I will read two of the four shorts, and then let space take shape, Yes—I am working on a background playlist. Yes—I will have tea for sale and a special batch of ‘lucid dream’ brewed tea. You know, the regular. 
Juliėn Godman's book Andanzas vol. 1

Juliėn Godman’s book Andanzas vol. 1


CVh: Writing—early riser, night bird or wherever you can steal a moment? 
JG: Never early riser. Never. Writing happens wherever and whenever I can steal a moment. I stay up late most nights. Have to really put me in the moment. I’m often in the writing mood at La Casa downtown, having a Padron cigar.
CVh: Notepad or computer?
JG: All digital nowadays. I sometimes do voice text notes to myself, and I love to email myself thoughts. Then I compose on my old IBM Thinkpad, using Scrivener writing software. I do, however, still send typewritten letters to friends!
CVh: Favorite place to write? Read?
JG: Reading happens at home. On the couch, in the sun.
Writing is wherever I can find a cafe that has plugs, comfortable chairs, and chill music. I write tons when I travel. I love sitting at a corner bistro table with an espresso and letting my mind wander.
CVh: Thoughts on editing?
JG: Don’t have a strong approach to this. Composition-wise yes it needs to flow. But sometimes I will opt for a jarring transition. Writing these four shorts, I asked myself while I was reading “Is there a spark? Is there an imagination? Is there child-bright thought?” If I can answer yes to all three, I know it’s right. 
CVh: Daily writing habits or rituals?
JG: Vegan Thai peanut sauce with broccoli and no rice. Then two coffees. Then a quiet, ultra comfort, hideaway by a window to write. The best thing for me is hitting up all my daily wants first then setting my mind to it, usually with headphones playing piano music.


CVh: Living or dead—Author you’d most like to see read? 
JG: Umm, probably Leo Tolstoy. I have a thing for Russian writers, especially short story writers. The second choice maybe JD Salinger, reading his short story “Teddy”.
CVh: Stranded on an Island, alone with one book—what is it? Why?
JG: Nothing too long honestly. You’d think the biggest book possible as I have rest of life to read one book. But I think maybe ‘Animal Farm’? On an island, it may be the best way to socialize with the ‘locals’ —ha!
CVh: Thoughts on the Detroit literary scene?
JG: With respect to some greater local writers in Detroit, I do think it could be better, bigger, more critical, and definitely more widely supported. We have all these things, but I’d like to see more.
CVh: Thoughts on future projects?
JG:  Book is called Andanzas, Vol. I, Friends. So maybe Volume II? “Andanzas” translates to wanderings, fortune, and journey in Spanish. Taking in breath is wandering, so there’s always more to talk about. Don’t know what yet, but the second volume would be great. I just applied to a Artist-In-Residence at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
CVh: Advice to aspiring authors? 
JG:  Be prolific. Be critical of yourself because most friends won’t give you the advice you are looking for, and travel. Traveling, not resorts or tourist traps, is the best way to expand horizons—that and tragedy.
Andanzas, Vol. I, Friends, official book release and reading is this Saturday, April 20, 2 – 4pm at Book Suey (inside Bank Suey) at 10345 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, MI. Books will be available for purchase onsite or online, at Light refreshments provided. Open to all.
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