Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mary Roach, author of Bonk

Here's an interview I did with Mary a few months back, after she was on the show.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reading John Irving and talking with John Ware

Anyone reading anything good? I'm listening to John Irving's A Widow for One Year and hate to see it end. I love it. I love good novels--great novels--with main characters who are writers. This one has five writers--four novelists and one sassy journalist--who are great characters. Irving is a bit obsessed with breasts, but then again, who isn't?

What book made you feel that way, that you just hated to see it end?

(FYI, one of my favorite literary agents in the entire universe--John Ware--was on the show again the other day. My podcast guru Rob Roy posted it so give it a listen. It's podcast here. If you search his name, you can listen to older shows featuring the great agent.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

San Diego....

To those of you who've written to me about him...Travis is fine. He says he's not troubled anymore, but when I asked him why he thought he was so freaked out by the little girl, he said, Weren't you freaked out by that? The elevator opens and there's a little Indian girl muttering!

Friday, July 18, 2008

San Diego, little lost girls and Moleskines

This afternoon Travis and I drove down here to San Diego to attend my student Peter's wedding. What a gorgeous ceremony and delicious, fun reception. And Peter looked so handsome in his tux and hot pink vest and Melissa looked beautiful in a sublime beaded strapless gown. They both looked so happy.

We sat and gabbed with Dianne and Ron, and Andy, and afterward drove back to the hotel. At 10 p.m. Travis and I stood in the parking garage on the 3rd floor of the Doubletree, waiting for the elevator. The door opened and out wandered a toddler, a little Hispanic girl in a tee-shirt and undies. Travis and I looked at each other, wearing blank, then befuddled, looks.

Where's your mommy? I said to the girl. Travis' dark eyes went wide. He said nothing.

C'mon, honey, I said, trying to grab her hand to get her back in the elevator to go down to the lobby. She rambled in toddler Spanish and of course my Spanish is bad.

We got her back into the elevator and hit the button for the lobby. Travis did not say a word while I was thinking, how does someone lose a little girl? And what if it wasn't us finding her but someone else?

We got her over to the registration desk and I said to the reservationist who had checked us in, We just found this little girl.

A moment before he was laughing with the couple he was helping with directions, but now he looked completely puzzled.

And then from the direction of the elevator I saw a couple of Hispanic women looking slightly curious as they looked around and I said to the reservationist, Maybe one of them is the mom, and then one of the women saw the little girl and yes, it was the mom, or auntie, or someone, anyway, who was connected to the cutie.

She picked up the girl and they went into the elevator. So did we. I said, We found her coming out of the elevator on the third floor, and she said, Oh, thank you, and I'm thinking she wasn't as freaked out as we were, as Travis was, as I would be if I just lost my kid.

They got off on the 8th floor. On the ride up to the 14th floor, we said little. Travis was unsettled. What's wrong? I said. I don't know, he said. Then: That was weird!

Our room key didn't work, and Travis said, I don't like San Diego.

Oh, come on, I said, it's a good thing it was us who were there. Someone else might have snatched her for his or her own.

Don't say that! Travis said.

I'm just saying, I said.

We tried the key a few more times, then hiked back down the hall to the house phone and called the lobby. Someone will come up with a new key, a voice told me. Travis sounded funny, incredulous, when he said, Shouldn't we have a little bit of good karma for that?

Why are you so freaked out? I said.

He said he imagined the mother was killed in her hotel room and that was why the girl was wandering around alone and in the elevator.

Honey, I said, but I'm thinking: My kid has watched one too many Hitchcock films and has brainstormed with me about plot for noir stories a bit too much, maybe?

A bellman came with a new key, we strode down the hall to our room and the key worked.

Travis knows how to plot. He has a great imagination and spins out plots to me, or inciting incidents for stories. I've kidded him: You're great at plot for someone who doesn't want to write.

But now he was saying he wanted a Moleskine notebook so he could write these things down.

You have two Moleskines, I said. We'd just bought him two pocket sized notebooks a couple of weeks ago.

Those are for music, he said. I need one to write down stories, to write a book. I'm going to write a book, he said, laughing strangely, surprising himself at hearing those words.

Writing would help you purge this stuff, for sure, I told him, as he went into the bathroom. I was still feeling a bit creeped out, too. I started thinking: What if those women weren't the kid's relatives, but someone else, or what if they were doing her harm, and she escaped, and now we sent her back to her tormentors?

Such is a writer's mind, always going, always imagining....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sunday's event

This coming Sunday I'll be at Barnes & Noble, Fashion Island, Newport Beach, 1 p.m., talking about essays, maybe, or knitting, or both--depending on the crowd. Come by! My essay, "Knitting: My Urban Escape," is in the new(ish) anthology, Knitting Through It: Inspiring Stories for Troubled Times (Voyageur).

Friday, July 04, 2008

Orange Coast Magazine's Best of OC

It's a tad embarrassing (embarrassing because I'm more used to being behind the scenes. After all, no one can see you on radio), but some of you may be interested in this piece. (Scan to the bottom for the copy.) It's a nice mention by Orange Coast, which has become a readable magazine again, now that Marty Smith is back at the helm.

Photo credit: Bradley Meinz