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.

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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  

Frankfurt Book Fair

There’s a cool grey mist in Frankfurt; it’s never bright here, but I like the damp air.   Sunshine lisps in through the grey.  The meetings started today, crowds of book people drinking coffee, vodka or wine in the Hof. The book business churning.  My hotel is close enough that I can see the book fair, and what a beautiful sight it is. I can walk to find Indian food, Thai and Vietnamese. I walked to the Middle Eastern market for grapes and figs.  At the German market, I got some herring.   The silt of thin sun and thick clouds filters through the machinery of Frankfurt, a city at work, a city thick with big ideas.  I work at night in my hotel room. The Germans seem to like Westerns, at least there is always one playing.  There are no channels in English, but it’s amazing how much you can figure out.  This guy is shooting, that guy is yelling. That other guy just fell off the roof.  I can guess he’s not doing much the rest of this movie.  I feel like this is going to be a good book fair.  The excitement about our books is rising.

Published in: on October 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last night’s event

Published in: on October 8, 2017 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Mushroom pie for dinner

The night air is booming with party now that it’s Friday night in Brighton, people walking down the street with paper cones of fries, the fish and chips shops open, the pubs humming. I walk down to the shore again to hear the ocean thrumming on the rocks. The Brighton pier is a storm of light and movement. The reading tonight in the church was lovely.  John Davies reading and acting, the music, the dance, the ripple of excitement.

 

I am waiting to see the scene in Alien where the alien comes popping out and then I am going to bed.  When I first saw it, I was twenty, and I remember I was lying on the couch screaming.  I could not believe what I was seeing.   Off to London tomorrow where I will eat Lebanese food before I go to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Published in: on October 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Flying into the Moon

Last night I took off from LAX on my way to London and the moon was rising. We flew out over the ocean and then we wheeled around and we were flying into the moon.  When you run around you’re looking down on the ocean and it curves away from you as the plane rises.

I’m in Brighton meeting with our UK writers and then to Frankfurt. The ocean isn’t big here; it’s lapping along on the shore in small waves.  Apparently there is a surf season in Brighton but it isn’t now.

Brighton is the unofficial gay capital of the UK. There is a Dyke Road that meets Queen Road, lots of little shops, and restaurants.  I like the boats sitting along the shore, the aching beauty of the grey skies slurping the water.  Time/space tilts into my throat, all wrong and twisted.  In a few days the upside down time will uncoil and I’ll wake and sleep on European time.  Just as I get a time correction, it will be time to head back to la la land.

Published in: on October 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment