Friday, August 29, 2008

The Salsa Stylings of My Boo

If you need a little boogie up in your business, have a listen.

That's Brandon on the trumpet. The group is Conjunto Sason, and this was its practice before playing for the Charlottesville Salsa Club.

I wish I could salsa. But this is how I actually dance:

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Caleb started school and I got a little questionnaire back. Question #3: What are your child’s weaknesses?

Well, he’s terrible at bridge.

Changes the radio station if Led Zeppelin comes on. Although that's more of a character flaw than a weakness.

Caleb has a serious weakness for Swedish fish, puppies, and Star Wars Legos.

I’m stymied.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Recommendation

Hey! Jincy Willett has a new book out! I blew off everything yesterday and read the whole shebang. The book is called The Writing Group, and it’s a mystery, about a writing workshop in which one of the participants is a murderer.

Oh my stars, as they say in the old country. I think this might be my favorite book. It’s funny and smart and suspenseful and moving. I was pissed at myself when I finished it, such a greedy guts, reading it all at once. I couldn’t resist, though. Look:

“All the Halloweens in Amy’s memory had been thrilling events, where you ran masked and free through magically unfamiliar streets. Amy couldn’t remember this part she was watching now, the first and probably most important part, when you had no idea why they were wrapping you up in a sheet with jagged eyeholes and leading you into the dark void. Outside Amy’s car window normally overprotective adults giggled at their sobbing, spooked children. The crying ghost had probably glimpsed himself in a mirror, and his mother had said, “It’s just you, silly. You’re scared of your own self!” and couldn’t help laughing when this made him cry even harder. Here was the beginning of a story idea: Why is the kid crying? No. Why is his mother laughing?

It’s been ages since I’ve been in any kind of workshop, unless you count my foisting manuscripts on Stephanie and begging for help, but the group dynamic felt spot-on, and the mystery element is really well done. I’m gushing, I know.

Just read the thing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Know What I Did This Summer

Oh, Ocracoke, if only you were not so far away. If only the drive home from your lovely village didn’t eventually result in tussles over which cousin was touching the other and the inevitable traffic backup. If only I had a larger car or shorter legs. If only. Because I would come down all the time.

Why was I there? The fabulous Sundae Horn hooked me up with a speaking engagement at the Ocracoke Friends of the Library annual meeting and a book signing at Books To Be Red, and a cooler bunch of people cannot be found anywhere on the Outer Banks.

For a long time, I didn’t know how to vacation properly. Oh, I sight-saw the shit out of places. I visited every museum/ historic marker/ biggest ball of twine. I dragged my loved ones to every lighthouse we encountered. I did research on what lunch venue was most satisfying. But I never got the knack of relaxing on vacation. I’d been to paradise, but I’d never been to me.

This vacation, I think I finally got the hang of balancing the activity with the relaxation. You can bet your bippy that there was activity—dining out, walking around the island, a kick-ass time at karaoke, the library and bookstore events—but I think what I’ll most remember is the relaxing moments.

Sundae’s husband Rob captains The Windfall, and they kindly offered to take us out on it for a sunset cruise. I’d never been on a sailboat before, but can I channel a little Drew Barrymore here? It was just beautiful and peaceful and, damn, I loved it.

The other moment of relaxation was at the hotel pool. This was the vacation during which Caleb and my niece discovered that adults can be lifted quite easily in the water. Caleb hoisted me up like a tiny groom and my niece administered a surprisingly good scalp massage. They called it my “treatment.” As in, Mama’s got the nerves and she needs her treatment. They gave me my treatment for quite some time before they got bored and moved on to underwater tea parties and cannonballs and handstands. But I have to say: It was divine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


To the letter writer,

I know who you are. Back off, Cowardly Asshole.

To everyone else,

Be back as soon as I dig myself out of the mountain of vacation laundry!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Come Out, Come Out...

Not exactly wherever you are, but if you happen to be in Ocracoke, North Carolina this coming week! I’ll be giving a talk at the Ocracoke Library on Thursday, August 7 at 7 p.m. for the Ocracoke Friends of the Library. (It’s free, and everyone’s welcome.)

Then on Friday, August 8, from 2:30 to 4:30, I’ll be at Books to Be Red, with my special pen.

I would posted all this sooner, but Blogger froze the blog yesterday because their software suspected I was a spambot. Which I suppose is better than a thousand monkeys with typewriters?