Friday, October 24, 2008

Albany, the Internet, and erstaz LA

Hey y'all,
On Wednesday, I drove up to Albany to speak at a meeting of the superintendents of the special act schools in New York about Spoken Interludes Next, the outreach writing program for at-risk youth that I developed and run. The meeting was at The Century House Hotel in Latham, just outside of Albany. I got there right at lunch time, and had some yummy squash soup and pasta salad while I spoke to them about the program. They all want the program for their schools, which I am thrilled about, but now to find the funding! ;) Then I got back in my car and drove home. The whole drive was the 87 and I really enjoyed the 2 and a half hours there and back alone in the car. the leaves are just about to be at peak, and most of the drive is just stretches of landscape. it was very relaxing.
I also was able to speak to a woman - using my ear piece, not hand held! ;) - that I've been wanting to talk to for research for my new book, so it was heaven being able to be on the phone with her for a whole uninterrupted hour. She gave me some great stuff that will be very helpful. Then that night, I did a call-in show with Book Club Girl about The Safety of Secrets - check it out here. It was lots of fun. It was great to hear from so many readers, and people asked questions that I hadn't heard before, and that is always fun. I felt like I learned things about my book from the readers' feedback. Then last night, I was in Riverdale doing a benefit for the Riverdale Senior Services Center. It was at the home of Dr. Jonathan Zizmor and his wife, Alexandra. They couldn't have been more lovely and sweet. Alexandra made a gorgeous meal. Two kinds of salmon, fried chicken, amazing salads, rice, pasta. The only thing that kept me from eating tons was seeing the desserts that were waiting, and not wanting to be too full for when I had to read and speak about the book. I felt like I was back in LA in one of those fabulous Spanish style mansions that are all over the Hollywood hills. Their home was that style, and gorgeous, and it was a wonderful eclectic group of people. It was great fun.
But now it is all about Halloween costumes!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Come Say Hey

Just wanted to remind y'all that I'll be doing a live phone chat on Book Club Girl tomorrow night at 7 PM Eastern Standard Time. Here's the link if you want to call in, and say hey or ask a question about my book or about anything else, though I might not be able to expound much on other topics. Or I shouldn't expound much, but will anyway, as my husband might say! ;)
Anyway, it'd be fun to connect, so give a ring.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I went to Vogue the other day. I had asked Abigail Walch, one of their feature editors with whom I am friendly, if I could come sit in the Condé Nast library to do research on my new novel, and she graciously said yes. So I put on my black high heeled boots, and a little black dress that I got at a little boutique in Silver Lake when I still lived in LA that I love because 1) the way it is cut, and 2) because its provenance is impossible to discern. And I he aded down to their great building on 42nd street. The library is on the 4th floor,
right by the cooking kitchen for Gourmet - yum! I got there about 11, and settled in at a table with books holding the archives of
Vogue from the '80's. If I ever doubted the power of advertising and/or the media, I don't any longer. I remembered every shot. Every one. I suddenly wondered if I had spent hours and days reading each issue when I was growing up. Not that it wasn't a happy pursuit, but still. Boy, did it bring lots back. And it opened up a whole aspect of the novel that I hadn't even thought about. I love when that happens, and have always believed that that is one of the most important parts of research is seeing a direction I need to go that I didn't realize I did. I even found a tiny little piece, literally 3 paragraphs about a law in Louisiana that completely pertains to my book. What are the odds of that?? It was a strange feeling to sit there perched above 42nd street in the city of my childhood dreams holding (albeit a different copy, but) an issue of Vogue that I had read as a teenager and to see the same images now that I saw then, and to have so many different reactions to them now. And friends from my life now that were in there back then when I had no idea who they were. Like an essay by Eve Babitz, a wonderful LA writer who I adore. It was an amazing meander down lots of different lanes.
Then, no surprise, I was famished. So I went to the famous and fabulous Condé Nast cafeteria. It reminded me a bit of the Warner Brothers' commissary, but East Coast style.
Here's my lunch:
I didn't get a picture of the two chocolate cookies I got, but they were really yummy, too. Then I went back to the library, and got on their computers for a bit to look at archives of the New Yorker from before Condé Nast bought it.
And I impressed myself that I was able to figure out the system, even though it was on a PC. - Elizabeth and Maggi and Dan, did you hear that??? ;) -
Then I had to run home as I was about to turn into a pumpkin - i.e. a mom. And to be honest, I was happy to get home, kick off my boots, and see my boys. We played tigers at the zoo. My bed was their cage, and I was the zoo keeper - I refuse to see this metaphorically! I fed them tasty treats, and kept the baby tiger from trying to get out of the cage. We all had great fun.
And, no, Anna Wintour was never in sight.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where I Was and Where I'll Be

So, we went up to the Berkshires this past weekend to see my sister and her 6 year old son, and to go to the Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival, an event we haven't missed in three years. It was great fun. The weather was glorious, the leaves were turning, and I was able to pretend that winter isn't fast approaching. My 4 year old and his cousin went up in a cherry picker with my husband - here's the shot my husband took from the bucket. I get terrible vertigo which was explained to me once is the fear that one will jump if one gets close to the edge. Which I guess is how I feel. Or that the edge will somehow swoop up and engulf me, and sort of suck me off and take me down. Which I guess is another way of describing jumping. Anyway. I stayed on the ground. And was very happy when the three adventurers got down, too.

I'm thrilled to be doing a radio show with Book Club Girl on Wednesday, October 22nd at 7 pm EST. Here's the info and a link to the show. It's a call-in, so phone in. It'd be fun to say hey.