Oct 31, 2007

So I'm sitting in my lovely apartment in Florence. I arrived yesterday after various mishaps at the Rome train station and many many hours without sleep, then met PM, the wondrous antiques dealing friend of a friend of a friend who hooked me up with this apartment, and he spent a few hours showing me Florence and leading me to the best sandwich I have ever had--truffle cream and pork!--at this little stand on a side street off the Bargello and showing me where to get the best hot chocolate and where to get the best cheap meals and where to get my money changed (<<a very VERY sad affair, by the way) and all kinds of things, and we went by Dante's house and Dante's church where Beatrice is supposedly buried and we went into this little shop across from the church where PM's friend Simone makes these tiny little leather boxes--shaped like shells and hearts and waves--by hand the same way his father and father's father did, and Simone was standing there behind a table in a long apron in front of a line of cool rustic tools hanging from the wall, covered with dust and looking like he should be hanging out with Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld. I am going back tomorrow and forcing Simone to tell me 50000 stories, as I am quite convinced he is in cahoots with Dante and Beatrice's ghosts. After PM left yesterday I proceeded to sleep for about TWENTY HOURS. Then I got up today and wandered around and walked along the Arno and crossed one of the bridges and wrote a bit in a little wine bar PM recommended, but the whole time feeling like I could sleep SOME MORE. So now I am back home and trying to hold out till midnight so I can get on some proper kind of schedule again.

In the mean time, here are some suspicious things I have seen.

1. Whilst lying on the living room couch earlier, close to an open window, I looked up and saw this fearful sight. I think I gasped out loud. Have you ever seen such evil?!

2. Now this photo, taken from my table inside the wine bar earlier, may look innocent and nondescript. HOWEVER not five seconds before I took this I witnessed a man walking his dog along this street, then allowing his dog to stop and RELIEVE HIMSELF on the wheels of that gray motorcycle. SO gauche!

3. Look at all these notes left to BEATRICE, who didn't do anything but wave to Dante ONE TIME and then die. Very, very fishy.

4. I could not help but notice, as I was walking over the bridge-that-is-not-the-Ponte-Vecchio-but-to-the-left-of-it, that they have conveniently provided a PLACE TO JUMP FROM. That is the Ponte Vecchio in the distance, whispering "come to me, come to me." I covered my ears with my palms and ran all the way home!

Despite its many many evils, I am quite madly in love with Florence and I think I am going to NEVER LEAVE.

The end.

Oct 26, 2007

The Woeful Tale of How I Found True Love Only to Have It Snatched Away

Three years ago this month, I was glamorously taking out the trash when my eagle eye spotted a happy little Pomeranian lass sitting patiently in the parking lot, near the back door of the apartment I lived in then with Tink. Assuming the lass was with someone, I leisurely dumped the trash. After a moment, two moments had passed, I could not help but slyly and ingeniously note that there was no one else about, anywhere. I looked at the fluffball more closely and she stood blinking at me, wagging her upturned tail. I decided to wait for her owner and sat down on the step that leads to the trash. The fur-queen pranced up to me and batted her eyelashes. I reached out to touch her head. My hand disappeared into a pile of orange fluff, and then emerged again. When a car came by I snatched up the thing as if she were my own child and she stared at me with her little smiley perky brown-eyed face, blinking. Then I set her down again. She had no collar. No one was around. Five tumbleweeds blew through the chilly windy October night before I stood up, clasping her to me, and took her inside.

Once there, I offered her a glass of water but she just followed me through the apartment jauntily, panting and tumbling about. As I called a few dog-owning friends for advice, she hopped right up to my feet and spread herself out lazily, until I could have almost mistaken her for one of those hipster rugs you see at Urban Outfitters. I called Tink to see if she might know the dog, but she shockingly and sluttily did not answer her cell phone. I called my friend Eric, who suggested I call the police. I called my mother, who suggested calling the SPCA. Already I knew: I would not call the police, or the SPCA. Already I was plotting to keep her, despite my horrible allergies to furry animals of all kinds. The fluffball twittered and fluttered below. I called Tink again and she said she believed that the man next door was the owner of an orange Pomeranian. I swept the orange fluff into my arms and marched over. I walked through the howly gate and up the stairs and rang the doorbell. No one answered. I walked back down, through the gate, through our own gate, up the front porch back into the apartment, then back down the back stairs and to the parking lot. Where I saw a man, Carlos, who lived in our basement. He said, “OH, DIVA!” Of course I though he was referring to yours truly. "Do you know this dog?" I asked. He laughed and pointed next door. I pulled the fluff closer. "What?" I asked. You can never be too sure. He made a phone call and I was not sure he had understood anything until I heard the word "DIVA!" once more. He laughed heartily. He stepped up to the basement next door and tested the door. It opened. I set the queeny thing on the ground and she stared up at me. I stared down at her. Then Carlos said "DIVA, DIVA!!", opening the door more widely, and with one last long glance she turned and raced in. My last glimpse was of the wisps of her umber tail disappearing into the dark.

Oct 24, 2007

Anton and Orly:

Me, Tink and Anton being extremely elegant

Yesterday after work I met my friends Rona and River at my favorite place the Algonquin Hotel, where we sat on a sepia cloud!!! And had vino and talked about glamorous things. Then River and I had Afghan food that involved lamb and carrots and raisins and rice. The end.

Oct 22, 2007

Wedding photobooth!!

Oct 21, 2007

Look at this amazing photo of Joi!

In other news, Anton and Orly's wedding yesterday was LOVELY and SO FUN and they looked so happy and lovely and wondrous and it was so fun to be surrounded by friends--not to mention my very adorable editor--and to have endless vino and chocolate coming out of fountains and yours truly danced like a mofo and Tink, Lisa and I all stayed the night and there was a photo booth which recorded much terrible evidence that shall be posted in the morn.

Oct 20, 2007

Eric just sent me photos from our glamorous dinner at Jean Georges last month..

Oct 19, 2007

A deep thrill comes over me when I receive a Sephora email with the following offer attached:

Joi called it "ghey" because she doesn't understand. I pity her.

1. Timothy Schaffert will be here Monday night reading at the Reader’s Room at Mo Pitkin’s (34 Avenue A) at 7 pm and I be going and he is awesome so you should be going too.

2. Tonight I am seeing Fuerzabruta, which is from Buenos Aires and the new show by the De La Guarda people and I loves me some people in water:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

3. I think this is VERY FUNNY:

I've been so busy and overwhelmed trying to complete my book revision and a few big projects for work before I flit off to Italy a week from this Sunday--plus Anton and Orly have very inconveniently decided to get MARRIED tomorrow, with not whit of consideration for my schedule!--that I'm only now posting about this astonishing book I read earlier in the week by the author I was on a panel with in Nashville (and spent hours drinking vino with after). Her name is Lara Santoro and the book is Mercy. It's her first novel (she's from Italy, studied literature in the U.S. and France, spent years as a journalist in Africa, then moved to New Mexico to finish this book, working in a frenzy) and it just came out a few weeks ago. Just look at the first page:

Show me a place as full of God as this. Show me land gathered at the seams by thorns as thick. Show me rivers as full of light, of tumult. Show me life as cheap, song as full.
Mina na wewe…” Mercy sang in the kitchen, her vast behind keeping stroke.
“Why the journalists they come to Africa?” she asks, “To see the people dying?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I mutter, flicking through the daily paper, mentally adding up the dead.
“We don’t do massacres,” my editor warned but what else was there to do? I became a chronicler of pain, the dead stacking up in the mortuary of my mind unburied. “Give us the ray of light in the dark,” my editor said but there was no light to speak of. The longer I stayed, the angrier I became, until—with the mute coherence of all seismic events—Africa unshackled itself from my perception and brought me proof of light beyond light.

I couldn't put the book down. Also, read this.

Oh, AND. The lovely author River Jordan, who is really the one who invited me to the festival, hosted a panel on Sunday for Tito Perdue, this amazing Alabama writer who's published five books but remains little known and had never read before in public, despite the fact that NY Press called him one of the most important writers of the early 21st century and there are just reams of praise about him. Anyway, I didn't know what to expect and really just went to see River, and then this most charming and delightful and elegant man stood up and just wove spells over the audience. He started out apologizing for his tie--a multi-colored harlequin concoction--and explained that his wife had once had a dress made out of the material and the only way he could get her to stop wearing it was by asking her to make him a tie from it. His wife, by the way, of over 50 years, was sitting in the front row and was just completely beautiful and sweet, smiling at him the whole time. (And he kept mentioning her and said at one point how at some level all his books are a celebration of his marriage.) He talked about his books in this wondrous, meandering way, and talked about the South and about Faulkner and Wolfe and Hemingway, and told all kinds of little hilarious, deadpan stories in his lilting accent, and read a few pages from the opening of his latest novel Fields of Asphodel, which follows this character Lee who has been in previous books through the afterlife. And then afterwards of course I bought a copy, and when I asked him to sign it he said he'd give me the best inscription I've ever gotten and this is what he wrote:

For Carolyn
Your taste in books is superb!!

Oct 17, 2007

It is hard to write about fairies!

A tidbit from Godmother:

The water was bright blue and tasted of berries. Above us, I could see the lake’s surface, the rays of light cutting through. I stretched out my arms. Maybeth, my sister, slept next to me, wrapped in a yellow seaflower and her own wings, swaying from side to side. I reached over and shook her awake. Her eyes flung open—bright blue eyes, water eyes. We both laughed as she unwrapped herself from the thick petals and kicked herself up towards the surface. I spread out my wings and followed. On the lake floor our friends were still sleeping, tiny lights, like stars nestled among the flowers and plants.
We broke through the surface, into air.
I opened my eyes. From a distance I could see the storm that was hovering over the world of humans. “Look.”
“Rain. The sky’s gone dark.”
“Oh,” Maybeth said, flipping herself into the air. “I guess you’ll just have to stay with me then.”
I clutched a stone and pulled myself onto it. “I have work to do,” I said. “Remember?”
“Do it later!”
“I can’t do it later!” I laughed at her, flicking my hand and spraying her with water. A scented breeze whispered through the trees that lined the lake, rippling through the leaves. The water shone in the light, the rocks and pebbles gleamed like gems.
She flicked a few droplets back at me. “But I hate it there,” she said. “Hate it hate it hate it.”
“You don’t have to come.”
“Oh, fine,” she said. “Just leave me all alone.”

Oct 15, 2007

I had a lovely lunch with my friend David today and had filet mignon, a glass of cabernet, and, after David insisted that I need to have my own "drink," two sidecars. Lord have mercy!

Oct 14, 2007

I am in Nashville at the Southern Festival of Books. I was on a panel today at 3:30 and I had planned to go straight back to my hotel afterwards and work, but I loved the other writer speaking with me, Lara Santoro, and she was completely fascinating and it turns out we have the same agent and after sitting down to sign books* we walked downtown and went to a long dinner and split a bottle of wine and split some ribs and some shrimp and grits and then ordered more wine and then went to Tootsie's where we did SHOTS and had more wine and beer and heard many many Johnny Cash songs and saw many many cowboys and strange tan ladies and now I am back in my hotel room and I have but one question burning in my breast.

Should I go see Kinky Friedman speak tomorrow?

* I would like to note that ONE woman came up to me with my book and said, "I can't remember why I ordered this." She looked totally perplexed. She said it had arrived yesterday and that she was trying to remember what had made her order it but COULD NOT REMEMBER but thinks it was because it "looks morbid." I smiled graciously and signed because if there is one thing I am it is (morbidly) gracious.

Oct 11, 2007

My sister just sent me a bunch of photos. Here's one of my dad and her at a cooking class in Vietnam obviously learning how to incorporate poison into one's dishes in the most innocuous way possible:

And with my mom in China, clearly up to no good:

And here's my mom, Joi, me and my sister at my book party last November, celebrating my genius outside of tiki bars:

And in photo booths:

The end.

Oct 8, 2007

So this weekend Massie brought along this mix CD she made called THE WORST SONGS I CAN THINK OF, which included several songs with which I am now intimately familiar though I had managed to remain blissfully unaware of most of them until now, including the completely psychotic "Your Body is a Wonderland," the indescribable "My Humps," the insane "Mambo Number 5," Whitney Houston eardrum-shatteringly singing the "Star Spangled Banner," Neil Diamond doing a drunken "Hava Nagila" (which is actually quite awesome), and Dan Fogelberg singing "Same Auld Lang Syne," which might quite possibly be the worst song I've ever heard, ever. EVER. Look. Like, you think the song couldn't possibly get worse and then it unfolds an entirely new layer of awfulness involving saxophones. Another song was "You're Beautiful," which I'd never really heard altogether and which I immediately started singing along to and imitating the accent of in a gorgeously retarded manner. We then, in all our driving through the autumnal splendor, spent several hours learning all the words to this atrocious song and singing it at the top of our lungs. When we arrived back in Brooklyn this afternoon and picked up Massie's husband to get Thai food, we serenaded him with it, and I'm pretty sure he was DEEPLY IMPRESSED. That song is, by the way, the most loserish stalkery wussyish song I've ever heard, and has ruined the subway for me forever. We shared a moment that will last to the end. !!!!

To make up for the horrors I have just shared, here is an autumnal photo:

Oct 7, 2007

This is my new favorite street:

Massie and I drove down to Pennsylvania yesterday and we're staying in this adorable big stone house/bed and breakfast outside of Bethlehem. Yesterday we had this amazing dinner at this place. This morning we had a lovely breakfast downstairs that involved china and sugarcubes and fresh fruit and quiche, and then we went to the farmer's market and bought weird tomatoes and wandered around and bought many gifts and then went back to the house to get IN ROOM MASSAGES, which was my birthday present to Massie who is now very old. At first I thought it was a waste to pay so much extra to get massages at the bed and breakfast, though I did anyway, but I am now a CONVERT. I changed into a fluffy white robe in my own lovely bedroom, got the most amazing massage for an hour in a room across the hall, then went and collapsed blissfully on my bed and then took a steam shower while Massie was getting her massage. Then I took a long nap under a whirring fan in my room with Audobon and old botany prints on the walls.

We are now in a coffeeshop in Emmaus sitting under dangling lit-up stars and flowers and across the street there is a large stone church with stained glass windows. The end.

Oct 4, 2007

Just another night of literary glamour and fashion...