Monday, February 27, 2006

Is This Heaven? No, It's Asilomar.

Home now from the Asilomar SCBWI conference in California, which was thoroughly wonderful. I finished my talk on the plane Thursday night, which gave me Friday to walk along the beach and down to Pacific Grove and Monterey; in a particularly pleasant sequence of the day, I purchased C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves at a used bookstore and read part of it over a delicious lunch at a vegetarian cafe, then bought a Rocky Road ice cream cone from a Ghirardelli chocolate shop and ate it while sitting in the sun on the beach beneath Cannery Row -- all this after passing wild otters swimming in the bay! (Steinbeck's gloriously grungy Cannery Row is now a tourist-trap shopping mall, for the record.) (And The Four Loves is just terrific -- I'm only about two-thirds of the way through, starting the section on romantic love, but his dissection of the psychologies and dangers of appreciation, affection, and friendship is marvelous and insightful whether one agrees with his religious views or not.)

Then I went back to Asilomar to give my talk, which went well -- I'll try to have the transcript up within the next week or so. (It will take me that long because much of it was written in longhand and needs to be typed up, plus I kept thinking of or discovering things to add or correct over the course of the weekend.) Still, quite a few people told me they enjoyed it and/or found it useful, which was enormously reassuring. And after that the weekend was just a nice mix of conversations, one-on-one critiques, fascinating lectures*, great meals, this gorgeous setting, and a couple more walks on the beach. I waded in the Pacific! It was over fifty degrees! I met Marla Frazee, who was so nice it just deepened my Illustrator Crush**! Plus I finished The Penderwicks (so lovely and sweet and sad and wise) and I passed through the Garlic Capital of the World (Gilroy, California, for those who like to know such things). Altogether an excellent conference, and highly recommended for both writers and editors; thanks to Jim Averbeck for organizing it and inviting me.

* Talks included Lin Oliver on dialogue, Gennifer Choldenko on her biography and process, Allyn Johnston on putting picture books together, and David Diaz on making the pictures themselves, plus Rachel Orr's additions to the Publishing/Relationships Crossover Dictionary: An ex-boyfriend is a "backlist title"; a fling with an ex-boyfriend is "going back for a reprint"; and an ex-boyfriend who gets married? "Out of print." Hee.

** Illustrator Crush, n. A passionate admiration for the work of and desire to work with some particular illustrator. Other Illustrator Crushes of mine include Jim LaMarche, Petra Mathers, Marc Simont, Jon J Muth (who works with Dianne Hess at Scholastic), David Small (whom I did get to work with -- happiness, happiness), Chris Raschka (who came to Scholastic once to see another editor and made me feel like a teenybopper spotting Justin Timberlake or whoever -- "There he is, ohmygosh, is that really him?, He's such a genius," etc.), Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, plus all the people I know well -- Saxton Freymann, Mary GrandPre, Timothy Basil Ering . . . It's a good thing my crushes don't have to be exclusive; in publishing terms, I get a whole season's list. :-)


The one blight on this weekend (and I am putting it in small type because hopefully it will be a small blight): When I boarded my flight home to New York, all the overhead compartments were full, so the stewardess took one of my two carryons (my backpack, containing my makeup case with my contact lenses (I was wearing my really, really old glasses), and all my clothes for the weekend, including my new magic jeans, several nice sweaters, and my beloved brown Danskos) and promised to check it for me. You know how this ends: I get off the plane at Newark, my backpack doesn't. And there aren't any tags on it, because it has always been my carryon and I never let it out of my grasp until the stressed-out stewardess grabbed it away from me. The good news is I should be getting my new contacts and eyeglasses this week anyway; the bad news . . . I think I have to go shopping.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Three Good Things: Love, Writing, and More Chicken

A Great Good Thing: My dearest friend Ms. Kathryne Beebe, known to many of you around here as Katy or KTBB, was engaged on Sunday to Mr. Joshua Hatton, formerly of Ohio and Texas, currently her fellow student at Oxford. They plan to be married next Christmastime. Hurrah, Katy and Josh!


An Inspiring Good Thing: One of the many pleasures of working with David Levithan is that he likes to make mix CDs for his friends. His Happy Pop Mix '05 contained a song by Natasha Bedingfield called "Unwritten," and maybe I'm just in SCBWI mode, but I found the chorus wonderfully inspiring for writers. It reminded me of my favorite quotation from Martha Graham:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”


A Spicy Good Thing: Thanks to all of you for your chicken-cooking suggestions! My soup turned out very well indeed, and it was so simple to make I thought you might enjoy it too. Recipe courtesy of my mother, courtesy of Patty Jackson (my sister's fiance's mother):

Easy Spicy Chicken Soup

2 pounds chicken breast in bite-sized pieces
3 quarts water
12 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups of salsa (I recommend a chunky garden-style; vary the heat of the salsa to vary the spice of the soup)
1 eight-ounce box Rice-a-Roni, Spanish rice flavor

Put everything in a large pot. Bring to a boil and boil 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with (or poured over) tortilla chips and grated cheese.

Yes, that's really it. This makes enough for about ten people. I only figured out while I was cooking that I could probably have thrown the cut-up chicken pieces in raw and let them cook in the soup . . . but we'll chalk that up to my Blonde Moment for the month of February. Mom says canned chicken in water is also an option.

May more Good Things come to all of you this week.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Am I Doing This Right?: Three Incidents / Accidents

1. Tonight I cooked some boneless, skinless chicken breasts for use in a soup I'm making tomorrow. I cut all the fat off the breasts and dipped them in flour, then I set some olive oil sizzling in a pan and dropped them in one at a time, flipping them often. This technique has worked beautifully for thin cutlets in the past, but these big thick three-quarter-pounders got brown and tough on the outside long before they'd cooked all the way through on the inside. I cut all the tough bits off and diced the remainder up for my soup, and it'll be fine, but I feel surely there's an easier, smarter way to cook thick chicken breasts. Dear Readers: Any suggestions?

2. Still working on my presentation for next weekend . . . Like all writers, half the time I think I'm a genius and half the time I feel like the sheep author from The Far Side: "Forget it! Forget it! Everything I write is just so much bleating!"

3. I was running on Saturday on the dirt track in Prospect Park, listening to Bono sing "Light My Way," picking up speed, 15th Street in sight, determined to pass through the gates before the song was done, right at those glorious final "Baby baby baby"s -- and I tripped and fell flat on my face, all that momentum ending both in a bang and a whimper. Fortunately I wasn't hurt, other than a few sore muscles in my shoulders, but my beloved Kate Spade-framed glasses snapped right across the nose. I ordered a new pair of specs today, but I'm still consigned to my uncomfortable contacts for the next week or so . . . So if I meet you at Asilomar and tears start running from my eyes, rest assured -- it's really not you.

Baaa-ck to work!

(Sorry. It was right there.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Muddling Through

I'm working on my talk for the Asilomar conference, which is -- urgh -- next week. (Urgh to the fast-approaching deadline, not to the conference, which I'm really looking forward to.) My talk is titled "Aristotle, Austen, Plot, and Pleasure: What a Dead Greek Philosopher and a Classic English Novelist Can Teach Us about Writing for Children"; I'm at the point where I'm moving ideas around, looking for connections and patterns, so the right structure will emerge. My problem right now is that there are so many things I can talk about here -- Freitag's triangle, building character, morality in fiction and how that's different from messages (because morality = good, messages = bad), how I fell in love with Austen, what parts of Aristotle's concept of tragedy apply to children's fiction and what's appropriate only for Greek drama -- that I'm really having to discipline myself to keep my focus on what's useful for children's writers: points on plot structure, yes, a paean to Austen, no.

(In rereading the Poetics, I was delighted to see that Aristotle lists not two but three important elements in plot structure: Recognitions, Reversals, and Suffering. I remembered the first two but had forgot suffering, and I loved seeing it here because it so justifies my own tastes: I'm a total emotional junkie when it comes to fiction and music, and I love it when an author twists me up in knots with his/her characters. This is why I loved Order of the Phoenix so deeply, in fact, all Harry's ever-so-realistic anger and confusion -- that scene in Dumbledore's office at the end makes my heart physically hurt for him, and I adore that. People have to hurt, people have to be in pain, for there to be a happy ending -- or rather, for the happy ending to be worth anything. I'm glad Aristotle says that too.)

I'm also thinking a lot about this wonderful, wonderful lecture by Zadie Smith on ethical strategies in fiction. This sounds pretentious and frightening, but it comes down to the fact that every author puts forth a morality in his or her work in the way s/he treats her characters, from the fate they receive according to the plot down to the very mechanics of how much "screen time" (page time?) they get and the author's attitude toward them while they're there. In particular she compares Austen and E.M. Forster: Austen loves her heroines and heroes, and dismisses the other characters as Not Good Enough or Interesting Enough or Conscious Enough, I think often, not well enough aware of the effect their words and actions have in the world: deeply selfish, really, in their focus on no one but themselves and their immediate concerns. Whereas Forster has sympathy toward everyone, even those who have no imagination or sympathy for others; "Only connect" is the great motto of Howards End, and he seems to strive to do that even with the people he wouldn't like in real life. Austen likewise has a epigrammatically neat plot structure -- the Perfect Plot, according to Aristotle and Owen Jenkins -- while Forster muddles all over the place, jumping about in time, tying his books off very quickly . . . something always feeling missing. Smith sees these two authorial predilections as connected, and derives the authors' ethics from that, and a moral education from that; go read the article (and Pride and Prejudice and A Room with A View) for more.

What comes out of Smith's talk that's useful for me with my talk is two reminders: how much of art's effectiveness comes back to emotional catharsis, and that the Perfect Plot isn't the only plot. But you need a damn good reason to deviate from the Perfect Plot, because your plot still has to accomplish that emotional catharsis even if you're not following the usual means of achieving it. All this will make much more sense and be much more practical in the talk, I swear.

Smith's speech speaks also to the vague dissatisfaction I felt with two novels I read recently: Sarah Dessen's Just Listen, which I praised below, and Jennifer Crusie's book with Bob Mayer, Don't Look Down, which I finished on the plane home from Ireland -- both of which I otherwise enjoyed mightily, I should say. Both of these books are technically perfect, the Dessen especially, with motifs introduced early, unfolding throughout, playing their one perfect moment in the plot structure, then receding gracefully into the background to be incorporated into the final image. And it is lovely, but for all my Austen-lover's soul, and for everything I'm going to say about perfect plots in this talk, I felt the slightest bit disappointed by the neatness of this technique: Life is messier than this. The motifs don't resolve, the boy disappears, the Russian mobster gets his pre-Columbian porn and doesn't show up for the rendezvous with the CIA (this last would be the Crusie). Of course this is the great satisfaction of fiction, of art, that we can make all the threads tie up right for once -- and there's morality there, too, that readers have the happiness and pleasure of believing that can happen. As it does sometimes happen, maybe even often. But the complexity of real life means that usually at least one thread blows in the wind, and right now I'm in a mood to value complexity more than perfection.

Good lord, I write long posts. This is why I love giving talks at SCBWI conferences, the chance to think about all these issues theoretically as well as practically; and why I love writing this blog, because -- to quote Forster -- "I know what I think when I see what I say." I go forth to write usefully now; thanks to all of you who saw this through.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Seven Entries in the Dictionary of Modern Love

(warning: necessary bad language below)

boy time: the time zone in which most men act when it comes to making or returning a call, especially one that regards your plans for the next date. Actually it is probably not that egregiously different from real time, but if you really want him to call, it will *seem* like he's operating in an entirely different time zone, one based on the other side of the earth. Example: "It's been five days since we spoke. . . . I don't know if it's boy time or he's just not that into me."

code name: the nickname bestowed upon a romantic interest for purposes of discussing him with friends, which usually reflects his career, his geographic location, or his most immediately notable characteristic. This is done partly for convenience's sake -- your friends are much more likely to remember this salient fact than they are his name -- and partly as a protective device -- until it's been decided whether he'll stay around, it's safer not to make him too real. Examples from the lives of me and my friends include: the Playwright; the Lawyer; the Texas Guy; the Dutch Guy; the Marine; the $134 Million Dollar Man (truly -- he owned an online brokerage firm -- but alas, the spark was not there); the Hot Russian; the Short Guy; Deep Girl; Red Sox Girl; and Lamprey Boy (a nice guy, but a deeply unfortunate kisser -- and I assure all exes known to read this blog that really and truly it is not you).

the Essential Yes: the usually unconscious internal commitment made to a person you like, that the beliked will receive all of your best personal/romantic/creative energies and interests from that point forward. Like falling in love, essentially, but with an active component: All of you has said "Yes" to all of the beliked, and everything you do for him/her follows from that.

fuckwittage*: Perhaps the most useful of the many fine terms we owe to Helen Fielding and her brilliant creation Bridget Jones, fuckwittage is the act, deliberate or no, of screwing with someone else's romantically vulnerable emotions toward you. One who practices fuckwittage is a fuckwit, as is the (transitive) verb. The causes of fuckwittage can include genuine romantic confusion/indecision, genuine non-romantic fondness toward the person being fuckwitted, misplaced kindness, and emotional immaturity -- but selfishness is usually in there somewhere, and pure evil is always a possibility. Examples include: leading someone to expect you're interested in a real relationship when you really only want sex/arm candy/a date for your cousin's wedding; throwing a jealous fit whenever you see your ex with anyone else after you broke up with said ex; introducing someone to your parents but insisting you're just friends; sending a postcard that says "Love from Jerusalem" to someone you broke up with because she wasn't Jewish; breaking up with someone because you work together and then spending lots of time with him because you're now just friends; etc.

* Helen Fielding apparently pronounces it "fuck-wit-tahj," to rhyme with "garage," but I believe the more common American pronunciation is "fuck-wit-idge," to rhyme with "bridge." Your pronunciation may vary.

"He's just not that into you": A phrase popularized by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, first on "Sex and the City" and later in their book of the same name, this is the theoretically useful concept of interpreting a man's failure to take a certain romantic action towards you -- his failure to call, to ask you out, to kiss you, to move in with you, to propose, etc., depending upon where you are in the relationship -- not as a sign of his shyness, his old-fashioned manners, or his being trapped under a three-ton boulder, but as the simple fact that he doesn't like/love you enough to take this action. Once you have accepted this Cold Hard Truth, you can kick him out of your life and move on to someone with more insight, initiative, and overall worth. If you're emotionally invested, this is much easier said than done, but the concept is useful in psyching yourself up to do it nonetheless.

"impaling yourself on the pole of rejection": Coined by Rachel's friend Kristina, this is the act of making your interest in someone explicit for the sole purpose of being definitively rejected and thus able to move on with your life. Example: After a seemingly marvelous date, he doesn't call for a week. With a sinking feeling, you send him an e-mail asking to get a drink on Monday; he says no, sorry, you're a really nice person, but he's gotten involved with someone else in the meantime. The e-mail was impaling yourself on the pole of rejection. It hurts like hell, but it allows you to make a clean and definite break, unlike "He's just not that into you," where you always wonder about recent rockslides . . .

love: "(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests" (from; "A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness" (from; a chemical reaction caused by rising levels of dopamine and norephinephrine and falling levels of seratonin; as a verb, the greatest thing you will ever learn; according to the Beatles, all you need; a many-splendored thing; the willingness to sacrifice your own good or comfort for the good or comfort of someone else; the thing that makes everything else worth it in the end, really and truly.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Things to Do in Dublin When You're Determined

to see as much of the city as you can and there's just three of you, all friends, all easygoing, and you're there for only three and a half days, and you went partly to celebrate Ben's eleven-month birthday and partly just because you could:

  • See the Book of Kells and a play at the Abbey Theatre
  • Listen to traditional music in a pub
  • Take pictures of statues of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce
  • Eat a Roo Burger (if you're Melinda)
  • Watch a rugby game between Ireland and France from the comfort of a warm pub as it's raining outside
  • Visit the Martello Tower, where the first episode of Ulysses is set
  • And walk by Davy Byrnes's Pub, where another episode of Ulysses is set
  • And win a t-shirt in a Literary Pub Crawl (if you're Ben; all this was because Ben loves James Joyce like I love Jane Austen; he even looks like Joyce in profile)
  • Tour the Guinness Storehouse (best beverage tour ever) and Kilmainham Gaol
  • Have your first-ever proper Guinness in the rooftop bar of the Guinness Storehouse
  • Become a Guinness devotee (these last two if you're me)
  • Learn three lovely literary facts: (a) Dorothy L. Sayers wrote jingles for Guinness; (b) the Guinness Book of World Records was first compiled to settle bar trivia disputes; (c) there was an Irish writer named Charles Robert Maturin, described as "eccentric and melancholy" (which sounds familiar as a description for a Maturin), who wrote a book called Melmoth the Wanderer, which provided the pseudonym "Sebastian Melmoth" for Maturin's nephew Oscar Wilde when he traveled the Continent after his sodomy trial
  • Giggle immoderately at a store called "Knobs and Knockers," which really did sell doorknobs and front-door knockers
  • Drag your two friends into every food shop in the city center in search of plain-chocolate McVitie's, which you will ultimately be denied because the city of Dublin seems to have an irrational prejudice against dark chocolate; this will require you to settle for milk-choc instead, but you can live with that if you get stroopwafels too (which you do; all this also if you're me)
  • Drink many pints and talk talk talk
  • And walk walk walk
  • Be happy

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Short Cuts

  • The angelic Angela Fox figured out how to syndicate this blog on livejournal: Thanks much, Angela!
  • And for the record, I have a livejournal,, though I don't plan to say anything interesting on it.
  • The evil and the hilarity of the Apple Video Editor at work: Brokeback to the Future
  • I scored 103 points in a single Scrabble play at a Meetup tonight -- TRASHES across two Double Word Scores, attached to ZEE. This is (these are?) the most points I have ever scored in a single Scrabble play; somewhere, my grandmother is smiling.
  • Sarah Dessen's new book, Just Listen, is terrific. All of Dessen's protagonists sound the same, yes; but Lord, the woman can weave her plots and subplots, round off a scene, and tie her motifs and ends together neatly, and the story made tears come to my eyes. Highly recommended.
  • "Tristam Shandy: A Cock-and-Bull Story" is also excellent.
  • Tim O'Brien -- who happens to be the husband of our wonderful art director Elizabeth Parisi -- is a wonderful illustrator in his own right (he painted the cover of The Legend of the Wandering King, for example), and he did this very cool live sketch of Alan Greenspan where you can actually watch his strokes appear on the page. (Ignore the fact it's Alan Greenspan; enjoy the coolness of watching him sketch.)
  • I'm going to Ireland tomorrow for four days.
  • Park Slope United Methodist Church will be holding its annual Book & Media Sale on Saturday, February 25. This is a GREAT event that always has lots and lots of marvelous cheap books, CDs, DVDs, and videos for sale, including a lot for children; if you live in the neighborhood and you'd like to clear out some old books, check out for information.
  • If you liked the Pirate Game, you might enjoy this SNL sketch. However, as Nadia says, the Pirate Game is funnier.
  • The American Book Review list of the 100 Best Opening Lines.
  • I learned this week that my mother has visited my blog, and this has led me to a new blogging rule of thumb: You shouldn't say anything on the Internet that you wouldn't say in front of your mother.
  • I'm getting a galley of the new Jennifer Crusie! Glee, joy, and happiness! (Yes, Jill, you get it next.)
  • The smartest guy in Gaza: Ahmed Abu Dayya (link stolen from Jeremiah)
  • It's 12:29. I should pack. And wash my dishes. And sleep. Ah, sleep is for the weak. Though the mere fact I'm making statements like that probably indicates how much I need it.
  • If I kept a proper Livejournal, the little mood indicator right now would read: hyper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ah, Hell: An Update

2:29 a.m., and I have 1,004 decent words, which I managed by opening up a message in Outlook and pretending I was writing to my friend Katy about what makes a good translation . . . that little Outlook e-mail box so much smaller and less frightening than the vastness of the white Word page, and Katy so much more known (and so much less likely to be judgmental) than the countless astute readers of the Horn Book. I don't have a conclusion, and I have the niggling sense there's something I need to be investigating more deeply -- some Big Idea emerging through what I've written that will need to be fully articulated and then will change the entire direction of the article. When I'm not under pressure, this is the part of writing I love most, seeing those Big Ideas come out and saying "Oh wow!" and chasing them down to make them mine. But right now I am writing run-on sentences without end and conjunctions without number, and the idea of a Big Idea merely tires me (never mind actually chasing it); and thus I will go to bed. Thanks to all of you for listening to my sleep-deprived perfectionist-panicked ramblings.

The End.

Ah, Hell.

I'm supposed to be writing an article for the Horn Book on translation. It's due to Arthur, my cowriter, tomorrow. And I am experiencing complete oh-my-lord-this-matters writing-brain freeze.

Actually I have already written my shitty first draft (to use the Anne Lamott phrase) and there are lots of good ideas in it. But trying to express those in smooth prose I'm proud of? Impossible. And it's 12:13 a.m.

12:14 a.m.

12:15 a.m.

This is why guys I like never call me back, by the way: The moment it matters, I get self-conscious and become a chattering icicle in eyeglasses. (Ten points to the first reader who identifies the reference.) And why I haven't been able to work on the Bad Novel in the last month: too damn nervous to write, because the vague intimations of Goodness in it terrified me. And also why I am swearing a lot in this post, because as everyone knows bad language is better than no language at all.

Can't I please, please edit someone else's writing instead? I'll send you all my thoughts on translation and you can write them for me, then I'll go over them and we'll have something great? Thanks.

12:22. I should stop whining and just get down to it. At moments like this I always remember the lovely first sonnet from Astrophil and Stella, which I studied in English Lit I long ago:

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burn'd brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows,
And others' feet still seem'd but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite--
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write."

Or the twenty-first century version: "'Fool,' said my Muse to me, 'post to thy blog and write.'"

Here goes.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

An iTunes Meme

Gacked from Jeremiah, this is actually pretty perfectly representative of my musical tastes; throw in a little more pop (and a terrible Jim Steinman power ballad or two) and I'm on your iPod.

  • Sort by song title: First: "'Round Midnight" by Cassandra Wilson; Last: "Zungo" by Nina Simone
  • Sort by artist: First: "These Are Days" by 10,000 Maniacs; Last: "Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate" (a hilarious remix of "The Gambler") by Wyclef Jean and Kenny Rogers
  • Sort by album: First: "Achtung Baby" by U2; Last: "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks
  • Sort by time: Shortest: "Horn Intro" by Modest Mouse at 0:09; Longest: the Pottercast Christmas Filkcast #1 at 1:12:39 (which includes two Harry Potter filks I wrote, one of which I sang, God help the listeners)
  • Top Five Most Played: 1. "Accidentally in Love" by the Counting Crows 2. "Float On" by Modest Mouse 3. "I Love Every Little Thing about You" by Stevie Wonder (possibly my favorite song in life) 4. "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," by Barry White (*blush* -- but it makes me laugh) 5. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder
  • Ten Most Recently Played: "The Man Who Got Away" by Judy Garland; "River" by Joni Mitchell; "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell (the "Dreamland" version, which is used in that devastating Emma Thompson scene in "Love Actually"); "Young Americans" by David Bowie; "Tupelo Honey" by Cassandra Wilson; "Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes" by Elvis Costello; "My Baby Just Cares for Me" by Nina Simone; "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" by U2; "Iowa" by Dar Williams; "Me Myself and I" by Billie Holiday

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Marking the Occasion

Happy blogiversary to me!
Happy blogiversary to me!
Happy blogiversary, Brooklyn Arrrr-den . . .
Happy blogiversary to me!

Yes, it's the one-year anniversary of the reinvigoration of this blog. Thanks to all of you for coming by!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Before and After: Six Pictures

Before: My beloved tiny old office:

After: My big shiny new office:

Before: One ball gorgeous red Peruvian alpaca, purchased at the Point in the West Village:

After: One checkerboard-pattern scarf in Minnesota, where it now resides with my friend Ted:

Before: The last McVitie's Milk Chocolate Digestive Biscuit of the tube Melissa brought me from the UK: