Florencia Ramirez

 

https://www.janetfitchwrites.com/events/2017/12/6/joint-reading-with-janet-fitch-and-florencia-ramirez-eat-less-water

 

Party last night for Janet Fitch’s new book. The vodka! My favorite was the horseradish vodka. The reading was wonderful and made you want to buy the book immediately.  Tom Lutz and Laurie Winer are fabulous hosts, and I could have hung out for a long time at the Russian food, but I restrained myself.  Their house is so charming. I like the upstairs outdoors room.

 

I’m at the Guadalajara Book Fair, just hanging, I want to do something fun here in Mexico, and fortunately, my hotel has a pool and I brought a swimsuit.

 

Thanksgiving week was amazing. I needed the moment to breathe, to rest.  We ate a lot of turkey morning and night and even made a turkey soup.

 

Guadalajara is buzzing with energy.  The sky here is a light sponge, thick with smog.  I remember as a kid, thinking the sky was dark and terrible maybe because my life was terrible. Not even blue like a life of music and rice, but black and wretched with slivers of gold too far apart.

 

Here in Mexico, the air smells like car exhaust and carnitas.  I like walking the city and thinking.

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Published in: on November 27, 2017 at 11:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Notes from travel

 

New York can be cold in November.

 

The food in New York is so good.

I had Cambodian food with my friend Ellen the first night and we had mochi for dessert. Just being with Ellen is wonderful because she has a way of making one feel great.

 

The second day I was at sales conference in the woods.  I saw deer and wild turkey.

 

The third day I went to meetings and bookstores. I met Paula Dietz who runs The Hudson Review.

 

The fourth night I had delicious  fish at Rin Thai.

 

I flew American to Miami, surely the worst of the domestic Airlines. Virgin America is the best, a cool comfortable cabin. Jet Blue is next, with their cheery chips, they make you feel like air travel is like skating across a pond. Then, I’ll go with Delta where you have the in flight movies and the food. I really would fly any of those three with almost equal pleasure.

 

Then Southwest with their peanuts. Spirit they just keep hitting you with fees.  You know they want to charge you for the bathroom but so far haven’t dared. But it feels like shopping at Target the day before Christmas.  A truly desperate situation.

 

Finally American. One of the old airlines.  Amenities unknown to them. The whole flight feels more like being in detention. You are cramped and hungry.  Overhead they have the television that you are usually shown in elevators and hospitals. In our case, it was golf.

 

The Miami Book Festival is hopping. It is a great book festival.

 

All this travel when I should be writing. I do my best to be in the thrill of it. I will get to the writing.

 

Miami is surreal. A preacher filling the park with people, surrounded by cops. In the harbor, more yachts than I could count, huge power boats, fishing boats, clubs, dancing, a conga line, a singer belting out “I will survive,” a crowd of people getting ready to go out on cruises. I found some Cuban food with plantains. And candy. Miami feels like a city that’s more party than anything else.  The lurid blue red of police lights, a huge shadow of a dancer against the Inter Continental, the dark wind blowing across the harbor full of filthy water. All that glow and the voice of God ringing out in English and Spanish.  I stopped for a moment to listen and a man said to me, “Are you looking for God, because I’m here. My name is Jesus.  Didn’t you know Jesus came from Mexico?”

“I heard that,” I said.

 

Home Monday and then Thanksgiving week.  I’m ready to make pies.

Published in: on November 18, 2017 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hamilton tickets forever elude me

 

In New York, it was impossible. But then Hamilton came to Los Angeles! I knew I could see it. Back in the day, I saw Phantom, Sunset Boulevard, Lion King, and Mamma Mia. I am willing to invest in the occasional big show, but Hamilton is out of my financial reach.  I went down to the Pantages to see if I could buy tickets in person. There were no tickets under $600.  I’m sure Hamilton is wonderful, but it’s time to let go of the dream..

 

It’s an odd thing when it comes to wealth. There are many experiences you can do as a relatively poor person if you have a job and save your dimes or are willing to travel simply. You can go to Greece or Germany, Spain or Canada.  My son who has no material possessions, (except his two cats who live temporarily at our house), has seen much of the world. You can swim in the best oceans and scamper on the beaches, see sunsets, eat sushi in Tokyo, ride horses and make pies.

 

Ninety percent of the wealth on the planet is owned by ten percent of the people.  Those ten percent can go fancy hotels, drink champagne that tastes like air; they have  big cars and carriages.  I know some people lucked into good deals for tickets, maybe I will in some other city.

 

I like my life, I like making books and having a family, and writing.  I like reading and thinking, travelling and figuring things out. I like dreaming, and when I dream, I dream of Hamilton.

Published in: on November 9, 2017 at 7:26 am  Leave a Comment  

yarn, cats, sunflowers

When I was young, I played with yarn. I gave yarn to the cats, I made things with yarn.

Then I decided yarn was for old ladies and I didn’t want to have anything to do with yarn.

In my twenties, I bought a sewing machine and made curtains with it and sold the curtains.

When Mark and I first moved in together, I made us sunflower curtains.  I haven’t used the sewing machine for years, haven’t seen a sunflower except at the grocery store. The days of yarn, sunflowers and sewing machines may be over, but I still know how to make curtains if I need them. I still remember the clicking sound the knitting needles made. They read the Narnia stories and I crocheted little rugs for my cats.

Published in: on October 30, 2017 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yarn, Cats, Sunflowers

When I was young, I played with yarn. I gave yarn to the cats, I made things with yarn.

Then I decided yarn was for old ladies and I didn’t want to have anything to do with yarn.

In my twenties, I bought a sewing machine and made curtains with it and sold the curtains.

When Mark and I first moved in together, I made us sunflower curtains.  I haven’t used the sewing machine for years, haven’t seen a sunflower except at the grocery store. The days of yarn, sunflowers and sewing machines may be over, but I still know how to make curtains if I need them. I still remember the clicking sound the knitting needles made. They read the Narnia stories and I crocheted little rugs for my cats.

Published in: on October 30, 2017 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Going home to heat

Cold in Atlanta, 39 degrees, but it feels like 32. I drove into Athens, GA to a bookstore there to drop galleys racing with a woman in a white Cadillac.  The drive past cotton fields and plantations, trees with a sweep of moss falling down to the ground like girls’ hair, the air green lit and falling backward. Everything slow. The pine trees tall and straight, thickets of pines.  Between them marshes.  Dead deer by the highway.  A long drive across the South, and tomorrow I fly back to Los Angeles into the bright thick yellow heat.

Published in: on October 29, 2017 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alligators and Ocean

Alligators swim in the lagoon outside my window. There’s a hammock where you can relax near the alligators. The beach stretches on forever.  There are beautiful houses here in Myrtle Beach; I’d love to come here in the summer and see the heat shimmer along the ocean and hear the music from the parties float out over the ocean. It’s all very Gatsby, some of the house with wrought iron railings. I couldn’t get enough of walking on the sand, the Atlantic Ocean is cool but not cold this time of year. I am going back to California on Monday, back to fresh salads and avocado. I’d like to see this place in summer when it’s humming.  Now it’s beautiful and lonely.  I like the fresh cider here. The ocean is having a conversation with me.

Published in: on October 28, 2017 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Black Mirror and Social Media Shaming

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TKb8RCka70

I keep thinking about this song and how social media works. This is the theme song of a Black Mirror episode about social media shaming which has elements of “The Lottery.” You say to yourself, I could just walk away from this screen, this device, I could wander off into the woods and not think any more about the people in their rooms tapping their keys.  Tapping, and tapping.  But the tapping strikes your skull and you feel yourself collapsing inwardly.  Even in the woods where I went, I heard the keys in every woodpecker’s peck on the splendid Sequoias stretching up to the sun.

 

All those people out there on social media are not your friend.

You have friends. You have the very same friends you had before it all happened.

You don’t lose friends. You find out who your friends actually are.

You walk through fire and at the end of it, you have learned what you did wrong, you have cleared up any illusions that you are universally loved, and you are a fire walker.

Published in: on October 21, 2017 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Back to California tomorrow

Last day of meetings in Frankfurt. Security is high.

It takes a long time to get into the book fair.

The skies are grey here, but it’s been warm.

Outside, they sell stuff. A lot of it comes from Nepal.

The Nepalese stuff is everywhere, I’ve seen it in Athens,

Madrid, at Camden Locke in London, in Berkeley and New York.

Worldwide the Nepalese sell the jackets and jewelry.

I look for something cool and German to bring back,

but I haven’t found anything.  My brain is a pileup of publishers and stories.

I heard all about Catalan last night and why they should be their own country.

Where are you from?

I say California. It sounds so much better than the U.S.

It sounds so much better than America.

California.

Catalan says they have enough to be their own country.

What is enough?

Published in: on October 12, 2017 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

To the light in Paris

I like novellas.  I read a couple of them in the last few days.

 

Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat was brutal, and fast paced. We meet our protagonist who dresses like a crazy woman, deliberately leaves her passport in a taxi and literally hurdles toward danger. Maybe because I am travelling alone and the protagonist ends up brutally murdered in chapter two, I found myself wishing I hadn’t read this in a strange city at three in the morning.  The story rushes and tumbles over you and you’re left afterward reeling a bit, what just happened? I like thinking through the threads of madness.

 

The story I really liked was Sunday in August by Patrick Modiano.  What a masterpiece.  A thriller. A detective story. A mystery. A wicked journey. A car. Jewels. A man with a false name.  Who did the girl love? Was she married? The sun pours onto the Paris beaches which may or may not be romantic depending on your point of view. Modiano leads you up the garden path, and his writing is a liquid force, not a word you would sever from its thread, not a sentence that begs to be smashed out of existence. A good book pulls the reader into a tall glass of water which you cannot stop until you have drunk it all. To the Marne, to the Riviera, to the dark girl with the jewels, the embassy, the gardener, the leather coat, the gardener’s son. To all of it. To the light in Paris.

Published in: on October 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment