Jan 28, 2009

So I wanted to write about this boy named Max who popped up one day on Facebook requesting my friendship. I look and see this little moppet face and have no idea who he is and then see from his profile he's a 15 year old Mormon boy from Idaho who lists Rain Village as one of his favorite books. (Mind you, I have gotten a few emails from people who liked that book but they are almost all women!) Right away he emails me and tells me how much he loves the book and how it inspired him to follow his own dreams; in fact he's just finished his first novel, he tells me. A first novel!  

Look at him:

So I talk to him on and off and he asks for agent advice and all kinds of things, and then he asks if he can interview me for his blog, and I say yes, of course, and here is said interview.

He also told me that he read Rain Village three times and that he read it another time out loud to his 12 year old sister, Bailey, who was in bed with a broken clavicle bone, I think.

I told my publisher about Max (that is, my editor and publicist and marketing manager) and they are going to send signed copies of my new book as soon as it's ready -- in mid February, tho it will be in stores at the beginning of March -- and when I told Max this he told me that he and his sister were both screaming.

Now how cute is that?

His blog, by the way, is called A Blog for the Intellectual Potato and here is Max's rather awesome description of himself:

Beautiful and Brawney
I have lived all of my life in a small place in Idaho. It's cold here and I don't like it, except for all the winter accessory possibilities it opens up, I like the warm when it's cold and I like the cold when it's warm. I wrote approximately seventeen poems, and I think two of them are good, no you can't read them. I do beleive that our societies collective capacity to communicate with one another via the mouth is slowly diminishing, but, hey, where would bloggers spend their free time if it wasn't. Just kidding, bad potatoes, computers are bad. I didn't know until just the other day that potatoes was not spelled potatos. AND I LIVE IN IDAHO. Just kidding, there was never and probably never will be a gap in my intellect.

So this is one cool thing about writing books:  earning the love of kick ass 15 year old potato philosophers in Idaho.

The end.

Jan 27, 2009

So I am back in Pennsylvania now and have had a very thrilling last few days and here is why:

1. Saturday I met my lovely friend Eric for brunch at PASTIS, which makes you feel like you just whirled yourself over to some gay Paree city of lights, and even features a cocktail called La Vie en Rose, which is a "classic rose champagne cocktail w/rose water," which, tho I did not grace it with an order, happens to be my new favorite cocktail ever. Eric and I then vamoosed over to the Mac store to admire his new sexy laptop--tho arguably slightly less sexy than the new pink Sony Vaio laptop winging itself over to me from the BEST BUY warehouses even as we speak--and then we slipped in and out of a few stores and then plunked ourselves down for some coffee. During which I had long talk with Memphis boy that was nice, and wrote many gracious thank you cards. Oh and I do love NYC coffee shops that will play entire David Bowie and Magnetic Fields albums whilst you sit.

2. After, I met my new lovely friend SIGNE PIKE for an ICE CREAM COFFEE at Cafe Reggio. Signe has a book coming out next year called Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Magic in a Grown-Up World and amongst other things she will be visiting all kinds of places where people claim to have seen fairies, including Cottingley she thinks, which does figure strongly into Godmother, and I cannot wait to read about her adventures. ONE OF WHICH will involve attending Faeirieworlds this summer in Eugene, Oregon--this huge outdoor event where thousands of wing-wearing people converge..... to do fairy things I guess--with YOURS TRULY. As was decided over ice cream coffee, which is really usually how these sorts of plans come about. But I cannot help but feel that anyone who owns a pair of wings and/or plans to attend an event like Faerieworlds really ought to read my book, so I plan to go and slip some Godmother into the water. And I MIGHT WEAR WINGS. I'm not sure. But Signe and I both pledged full commitment to the enterprise.

3. AND THEN I flitted off in possibly fairylike fashion to THE SMITH, where I met my sister and her beau and Tink and Lisa and Rob and Autumn for drinks and dinner before going to see DEVOTCHKA at Webster Hall. Now I have described Devotchka before--the romantic lead singer swigging red wine, the glamorous flower-behind-her-ear girl playing a tuba strung with Christmas lights (and then the cello), the thin man alternating between the violin and the accordion (a white accordion!), the aerialist girl who comes out near the end and does a whole silks routine to the music, the heartbreaking ecstatic gypsy music...--but man, they are just so good I had to mention them again. And Webster Hall was nice, with that giant disco ball that spins around every now and then and casts stars on the walls, and all them big red chandeliers.

4. Then Sunday I rented a car and filled it and drove with my sister over to Queens to get some stuff I'd left at Tink's and ALSO to watch the tivo'd MISS AMERICA pageant with Tink and Aoife... And it was totally fun and ridiculous and laughable until the talent portion came on and after some truly atrocious show tunes MISS HAWAII walks out all decked out in feathers and proceeds to do the most KICK ASS HULA DANCE any of us had ever seen. Tink and I even gave her a standing ovation (my sister was too lazy to get up), and we all vowed to immediately learn to learn hula, which is like bellydancing BUT WITH BIG FEATHERS. I mean really. And THEN to our astonishment Miss Hawaii was CUT OUT and I vowed then and there to write an angry op ed to the NY Times about this terrible injustice. But then I realized it was like ELVIS entering a prim little beauty pageant in the 1950s, and you know he would have totally lost.

5. Then I dropped off my lazy sister and drove to Pennsylvania. I do love driving long distances and singing loudly to CDs and stopping at places like CRACKER BARREL for dinner. Sigh. I really do think I should be a truck driver and I may yet, if this writing thing don't work out.

6. Yesterday then I had lunch with my mama and dad and then went to the local library to speak to the PENN STATE UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB about my books. It was amazing. Two and a half years ago, before Rain Village came out, I was a nervous WRECK about public speaking, and I spent several therapy sessions trying to work through this fear and even had HYPNOSIS. Those first readings I did were terrifying for me. Ten years before that I was a TA at UCLA and just found it constantly mortifying, having to stand up and talk in front of those students. But near the end of my Rain Village events I found I had conquered a lot of that, and then yesterday I barely prepared, had no nervousness at all, and then during my talk, where I really just presented my two books and read a page or two from each, I just felt like I was sitting across the table from a friend... there were just 40 or so of them. Back when I was preparing for RV, my father, who is a professor and who speaks around the world, told me to not think about myself at all, just think about the audience. Finally yesterday I was able to do that: just think about these 40 ladies in front of me who just want to hear something lovely, something interesting, and not worry about myself at all. And it was easy and fun and delightful and they were open and interested and engaged. So my point is: it's cool to be 37 and realize you done conquered something that has been terrifying for you your whole life.

7. Then I met the wondrous JILL GLEESON at the local coffee shop so she could interview me for a profile in State College Magazine, and we talked for like 3 hours I think with her big tape recorder between us, and we bonded so much and were having so much fun that after the interview we went over to the CORNER ROOM, this old comfy place I love here, and had us some dinner.

8. And now today I'm finally gonna buckle down and do some w-o-r-k.

The end.

Jan 23, 2009

So I had this gorgeous day yesterday which I must write down for posterity.


1. I had long talks throughout the day with my wondrous friend ANTHONY MADRID who gave me much gorgeous toughlove advice about all romantical proceedings, in the best way possible, tho sad cause now I think I screwed up the whole Memphis thing... or that the boy and I did equally.

2. I had a long long sparkling lunch with Ms. Elyssa East, author of this upcoming tome about Dogtown, Massachusetts, that is going to be lush and spooky and fascinating, and we ate at a retro diner where I had a retro BLT and piece of retro cherry pie, and we talked about our 50000 book ideas and projects and her magnificent engagement and aging and many other wondrous things, and it was the kind of lunch that fills one with creative energy and ideas and possibility. And she is just one delightful chica.

3. I then met my friend Ron at Nat Sherman, where you pick out your cigar upstairs and then are led elegantly downstairs to the smoke room to smoke and have coffee, and the cool older woman behind the counter asked me what kind of cigar I wanted and I said well I would like.. and she said a lady's cigar? and I said YES please I would like the cigar equivalent of a pink cocktail and as I was saying with an umbrella sticking out of it she was saying with a cherry on top and I said yes, yes, and she picked out two different cigars, one fatter, one thinner, and said she recommended the fatter one because it was milder but that I might want the smaller one and I said no I trust you and she said I don't see why! and I said oh because I am extremely naive. And thus my cigar was purchased and cut and we were led in hushed manner downstairs where it was all wood and jazz and smoke and men and coffee set out next to wrapped sugar cubes, and Ron and I played two games of Scrabble and drank coffee and smoked cigars and even tho it was rather disgusting the way that cigar smoke just coats your mouth and skin and hair and I mean really it just molests you that stuff, I loved it, I love old retro and super manly cigar bars and steakhouses and anything of that ilk, and plus I won both games and next to us were two doods at the bar hashing out a book or screenplay of some sort and it just was cool. Admit it.

4. I then sat outside Sephora on 42nd Street for a few minutes, no doubt reeking of cigars, and talking to Anthony Madrid via pink cellphone when who should glide past me but Ms. Jane Fonda, sweet little white moppet dog in tow, wearing a poofy purple jacket and looking so stunning and glamorous. She looked right at me and I thought damn that is a beautiful woman and then I realized who it was and she happens to be in this play that's about to open that my friend Eric is one of the producers for, it's called 33 Variations, and so I know how luminous and amazing they all think she is and I know that woman be over 70, and I thought oh how lovely, as Elyssa and I earlier had been talking about that weirdness of realizing we're in our late 30s and I told her, for example, about how when I was 34 I was dating that distinguished, famous, genius economist playboyish dood who was 48 then, and I felt all young and lush around him and then realized one day, in horror, that he considered me to be the OLD one he was dating.... Now I know that's playboy think but still, now I'm 37, 38 this June, and well, it is awfully nice to have some 70-something hot mamas gliding past you on the street...

5. I then made my way to Williamsburg to await Joi's return from KANSAS, where she was visiting her beloved, and I wandered about and I had pineapple rice and I drank almond bubble tea and I wrote 5000000 notes notes notes about my mermaid book and also read me some Patricia Highsmith, which is really quite a lovely thing to do whilst drinking almond bubble tea in little Japanese tearooms, and I am so excited about this new book....

6. And then Joi came back and we went to M's and then her place and we had much wine and we talked talked talked and amongst other things made extraordinary plans for the best road trip ever, as in late March I shall be helping her up and move to Lawrence, Kansas, for true luvvv, after she's done spent her whole life in New York, and I just think it's so exciting and cool and world-expanding, and we're gonna drive through Pennsylvania and then down to Knoxville and then over to Nashville and then over to Memphis, and then up through Missouri and then into Kansas. And I'm gonna hang out and help Joi unpack and get settled and I'm gonna see Lawrence and Kansas City and we're gonna take a trip up to one of my favorite places OMAHA, NEBRASKA, where we shall stay in the princess house of my gorgeous fashionista friend Alice Kim, a lass who up and left her fabulous NYC existence a couple years back to settle herself down in Omaha and live the Midwest dream and now she owns a little shop in the warehouse district and lives in a princess mansion. I love stories like that.

7. And now I'm off to meet my gorgeous friend Valerie for lunch, Valerie being the woman who done optioned GODMOTHER for film at Random House Films and possibly one of the most beautiful and brilliant women I've ever met. The kind of woman who's obsessed with books and worked as a model to put herself through grad school. I mean really.

The end.

Jan 21, 2009

Also, here is my finished tattoo:

So I have been awfully busy and running around these past weeks, haven't been in Pennsylvania since before Christmas and spent many many days running between New York City and then Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, where Massie lives at the Grail in a big grey farmhouse on 45 lush acres, which this time of year are covered in ice and snow and 500000 deer bounding about like they're on some audition. I spent one day writing in this lovely house called "the cottage" while right outside the window 7 deer just chomped on frozen grass and ice gleamed and glimmered all around. It was so wonderful I just wrote and wrote all day long and thought about ways I might lure those deer on my travels so I can always be so productive...

I spent Christmas in NYC with my family and then spent New Year's up at the Grail and met all the lovely ladies and we lit candles and talked about our years and then Massie and I wrote things we wanted to let go of on slips of paper that we burned, and we did many other fun things, and I went back to NYC and got my tattoo finished, and I went back to the Grail and wrote and rested, and then back to NYC to meet with my agent and editor and publicist and marketing manager, all gearing up for Godmother coming out in March.. all very exciting.. and just see 50000 friends..

And this whole whole time I was madly smitten with this boy I used to know way back when, this boy I'd had one date with back when I was maybe 19 or 20 but nothing much happened after that but I always liked him, and I'd hear little bits about him over the years, that he was in New Orleans that he was in Memphis, that he was a chef, and I would always sigh and say HIM, and then he popped up a few months ago on Facebook and we started to talk and talk and next thing you know I have a ticket to Memphis and we are all kinds of smitten and talking every day, and he's just so adorable and so funny and always telling me the most wonderful stories, and I was very nervous to see him again but then, as it's almost to the day I'm flying there, I was just all pure excitement.

He runs this inn and restaurant down in Memphis, gorgeous, 200 years old, full of history and ghosts, and I arrived last Wednesday but he'd taken this little work trip and wouldn't be in till Thursday, and he had someone get me at the airport and he'd set me up in this beautiful suite, with flowers and presents waiting for me, and it was so lovely and magical, and then he came the next day and it was thrilling to see him, he was just like I remembered -- so cool and adorable and sweet, with this way of going from serious to blissed out in two seconds, and this way of constantly spinning a story with you that makes everything better and more fun -- and that night we went out on the town, driving around and talking and ducking into fancy little spots for wine and food, and I was smitten and we were kissing and holding hands, and for the next several days I was just so fully immersed in him and his life -- that inn, that place, those ghosts, Memphis, his staff, his children (two kids, pure gorgeousness), his schedule, his worries -- and it was so intense and strange and wonderful and awful to feel stripped like that, to be thrust into this whole other world that was so all-consuming, and I felt exhilarated and suffocated both, and amongst all that immersion were many many moments of joy and loveliness, lots of blissful making out and dancing and driving around, and all kinds of moments with his children, but there was a lot of waiting around too, a lot of seeing him come get me long past when he could have, and ultimately I could see, I saw right away, that what he'd spun with me was more a fantasy and that in reality he was not open in the same way, and I had all my anxieties and fears too, and so this whoooole thing was sort of run through with heartbreak that got more and more intense as I was more and more immersed, especially with those luminous children.. and so I ended up changing my flight and leaving two days early, and it was all good and loving and I hugged them all goodbye and there was forgiveness all around, tho I did walk through the airport weeping in a very glamorously garbo-esque manner -- I'm sure the whole effect was heightened by my very fashionable Japanese leopard print suitcase -- and then later he and I had a long talk on the phone that made me feel much, much better about the whole sad lovely thing, which was probably too bent around fantasy and expectation and anxiety to proceed any way other than how it did, in one expectation-filled, panic-stricken week, and he will stay in my life I think and I'm so glad as he be really very extraordinary.

So I got back to NYC Monday night and I'm here till Sunday, and then I'm going back to Pennsylvania, finally, to rest and write and recover from all them heart-smashing adventures.

The end.