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Author Updates

Friday, August 31, 2007

Astonished by number of emails received from friends asking about the foot-tapping-in-the-bathroom business brought to light by entrapment of I-am-not-gay Senator Larry Craig. (Years ago, NM told me Craig was known as the “prairie fairy,” so revelations not exactly mind blowing. Plus, as with so many of that smug, self-righteous right-wing ilk, you knew there was something unwholesome going on somewhere in closet, fueling all that smug revulsion.) Emails typically fall into the “Did you know about this?” category. Since all mystified emails were from women, am left to conclude that soliciting anonymous sexual favors in public restrooms is not common practice among women. Where then, I wonder?

Had assumed this was common knowledge because, after all, what else would you tap but your foot? Naturally, did not want to appear too authoritative on this particular subject.

Funny to me that there’s been so little outcry about undercover cops being used to investigate under-the-stall hand jobs instead of threats related to…I don’t know… terrorism? Plus it’s just going to make airport bathrooms that more crowded now that everyone knows about this.

Sent schedule for Paris by attaché de presse. Noticed an awful lot of television interviews lined up were labeled as “en direct” meaning “live.” Called to complain. “Oh,” came the response. “I was hoping you wouldn’t know what that meant.” In my view, someone assumed to be incapable of translating “en direct” should not be assigned interviews “en direct.” But as 85-yr-old mother said upon hearing my concerns: “That’s getting to be a broken record. Tell me something new.”

Call from RSS the other day complaining of depression. When asked why, RSS responded: “Someone hit on me at the gym today. And he was so AVERAGE. It was depressing.” A new stage of life apparently, since average types wouldn’t have dared assume they might even stand a chance before. One of the drawbacks to being as spectacularly above-average as RSS. Feeling the losses associate with age. Like the misfortune of a happy childhood—assuming it’s always going to be this way.

Posted by Stephen @ 12:12 AM EST

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just returned from hiking trip to High Sierras in California. Spectacular scenery, perfect weather. Splendid isolation--aside from the 8 other friends and three carloads of food and four cases of wine and several cartons of cigarettes. Rented a cluster of four buildings at 7600 ft, perched above a pristine glacial lake. Property (one square mile) owned by one family since 1920’s. Unlike previous hiking trip to Yosemite, this one involved actual beds and running water and generator-driven electricity for 2 hours each night. Most memorable aspect of trip (aside from white peaches purchased by L at San Francisco farmers market prior to ascent) was the wind. Howling through the hemlocks and white pines all day and night, stirring up the dust on the thoroughly parched trails, and creating atmosphere of longing and appealing melancholy. Scorching sun, but cool in the shade and cold at night. Hiking trails mostly gradual, scenic through meadows fed by snow melt. Ribbons of wild flowers sprouting up unexpectedly in otherwise desert-like conditions. A few clusters of snow still in hidden pockets of the mountains about 9,000 ft.

In some ways, the very best part of the trip was media fast. No internet, no radio or newspapers or television. Occasional spotty cell phone reception. Learned of Rove retreat through phone message. Brief discussion of impact before whole story and politics in general seemed to fade into insignificance and were blown away by appealingly melancholy winds.

Read Henry James and Larry McMurtry. Fascinated by McMurtry’s novels—the contemporary ones, not the westerns—which seem shapeless and shaggy and imbalanced. Fifty pages devoted to describing one day and then a year summarized in a few paragraphs. And yet, astonishingly compelling and readable and satisfying. Sympathetic characters are key. Something 19th Century about them. The long shadow of Balzac? Terms of Endearment an all-time favorite novel. But hard to mention it because people associate title with the sloppy sentimentality of the film adaptation.

Speaking of films, returned to find website for La Verite Ou Presque (True Enough) up and running. Fun music and stylish clips from film.

Have sent to assorted friends in attempt to show off, despite having had no role in the writing or any other aspect of the movie. Response thus far has been a disinterested: “But it’s all in French.” As if this disqualifies it from being a “real” movie. Oh well.

Teaching begins next week. August 30. Then leave for France on September 2 for movie premieres in Lyon and Paris. Rumors of interviews being lined up for radio and etc alongside director and screenwriter. Same old problem of anxiety about language, but decrease in pride related to age helps enormously. Plus awareness that interest in novelist always minimal compared with director and actors. Plus massive doses of Clonapin.

Posted by Stephen @ 09:50 AM EST

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