I spoke with Dana Gioia’s class on Arts leadership at USC and had lunch at the University Club. I saw Morten Lauridsen there and I was so excited to see him because I when I hear his music, I feel joy. The class was great; the students very engaged intellectuals. I gave them the history of Red Hen Press and they asked excellent questions about organizational work and intellectual activity and how all that fits together at a non profit press. Now I am at Paper and Plastik Café and will soon be meeting with Cecilia Woloch and Brendan Constantine. It’s an excellent little café full of people working on their laptops and quite a number of them appear to be doing homework.
The food looks outstanding. I really want some of their caramels but they are ridiculously expensive. They have foods like Fig and Olive Tapenade and pickled green tomatoes on ricotta toast which sounds highly unusual. I bought some tea for Mark as he needs a constant supply of black teas. We leave tomorrow night for Santa Cruz and we’ll be up there for a couple days.
The press is hopping. It feels like we are all on fire and it’s sort of a non stop roller coaster. I wouldn’t mind getting off it once in a while and getting in touch with the ground, but that’s obviously too much to ask. It feels like we are all working at full tilt as we approach the biggest literary event we’ve ever had. It’s touch and go on this one, and I can only hope that all this runs smoothly. Mark is working on books, the anniversary staff are clicking away on the timeline for the event. It’s a time of stress and work, not play. But, we will get through it and come out the other side flying, singing and dancing. That’s just me joking around. We’re not going to be doing anything like that until the press closes for the holidays in December. Then we can drink some champagne.
Dana talked with his students today about gratitude. There is a shortage of that in the literary world. You give up everything to make a difference, to publish books that are being ignored and afterward you have to kind of clap for yourself because otherwise there isn’t much clapping. But fortunately, we are rather centered people. We keep living in grace and that’s the best you can do as an arts administrator.