Tuesday, February 21, 2017


what a lovely few days I've had in NYC! Started Sunday off with brunch with my sweetie and My pal Laura Lippman and her wonderful family at Bar Boulud on the upper west side. Arrived at Penn Station at noon and the day was so glorious that I hoofed it up to the restaurant. Thirty+ blocks lugging two bags and it was wonderful, every step. Spring like weather, sunshine, and a Croque Madame waiting for me. That night we saw the Iranian movie THE SALESMAN, which is an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. Riveting for sure. Highly recommend it. We walked there from the West Village, all the way down Bleecker (where I lived so happily for so long) to Houston. When we walked out into the warm night I pointed out that one of my favorite old school NYC Greenwich Village restaurants, Arturo's Pizzeria, was just a few blocks away. So off we went for pizza and red wine and jazz, then the lovely walk home. Another old school  favorite of mine, The Ear Inn, on Spring St. between Greenwich and Washington is where we met my pal of thirty-five years (!) Glenn for lunch OF burgers and beer on Monday. And continuing that trend we met up with friends of my sweetie at Fellini's that night before going to The Dutch on Sullivan Street for dinner with one of my favorite people Helen Schulman, a true blue friend for many years. We are sticky ribs and fried oyster  sliders and Fred Flinstone like pork chops and drank Ridge Zinfandel into the night.

And now my sweetie and I are on Amtrak heading to RI for a week. He's getting us hot dogs in the cafe car right now. Tonight we are hitting Persimmon, one of our favorite restaurants in Providence, then heading to Woodstock in the morning to visit my friends Catherine and John Sebastian so that Catherine can take his new author photo. She took mine, and there isn't a finer photographer around. I'm lucky enough to own two of her photographs and have her byline under my author photo!

I have been reading a lot--everything by Beryl Bainbridge and galleys of new books by Dani Shapiro, Tom Perrotta, Bill Roorbach, and Elizabeth Strout. Knitting myself a hat and my sweetie fingerless gloves. And writing! Writing lots!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Things Fall Apart

It is perhaps strange to be quoting this line from Yeats on Valentine's Day, a day when we celebrate coming together. But I find myself thinking about love, of course, and all the loves that come and go in our lifetime.

My parents fell in love the night they met, at a dance in 1949. That night, my father asked my mother to marry him, and a year later she did. This is a high bar for love. I grew up thinking the right one would come my way, lightning would strike, and then happily ever after would follow. Instead I find that love is a series of highs and lows, missed opportunities and mistakes, a coming together yes, but also a falling apart. This is not meant to be pessimistic. I love love. I love being in love, I love the idea of love, I love coupling and leaping and canoodling. But when one lives an unorthodox, off beat life, things don't take a straight path.

From the outside, we look at couples--at people too--and think we understand their relationships. But alas, we don't. No one knows the real joys and disappointments, betrayals and broken promises, precious moments and triumphs of anyone else's life. Things fall apart.

This Valentine's Day I find myself happily in love. Almost thirty years ago this man called out to me on a summer afternoon in Vermont and I did not listen. Instead, I went this way and that. I fell in and out of love. I made smart choices and bad ones. I had three incredible children and wrote more books than I ever dreamed. Things fell apart. And I kept trying to glue them back together. We do that, we romantics. We keep trying, even when no sensible person would.

And then, I listened. As a young girl I would play my Simon and Garfunkel albums over and over, crying (romantic, foolish me). Would I ever meet someone who would "read his Emily Dickinson, and I my Robert Frost"?

Yeats goes on to tell us the center does not hold.

That is so true. Too true. Yet sometimes after things fall apart, someone calls to us and we look up and everything--everything--changes. For the good. Love appears after all. And we open our arms and we jump.

Ah! We jump!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you who are standing in a life that has fallen apart: there's a new one out there waiting for you. I believe it. I know it. To all of you who have found that true love: celebrate it and treat it with care like the precious thing it is. Let's all of us have some champagne tonight and toast this glorious mess called life.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rested and Ready To Go!

Happy February everyone!

As promised, I took the month of January off to read and write and knit and cook and just be. I feel rested and ready to embark on 2017 after a crazy 2016--getting divorced, moving from my home of seventeen years, moving into my fabulous new loft with Annabelle, losing my beloved dog Zuzu (fifteen years old, but still), gaining two cats--Hermia and Gertrude, doing a BIG book tour, visiting 77 book clubs, and finishing a memoir (coming out in August! Morningstar: Growing Up Reading). Oh. And starting a new novel, publishing a "Modern Love" in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/fashion/modern-love-whats-love-dont-ask-the-answer-couple.html?_r=0), and teaching!

After my birthday on December 9, I stayed home. Happily. My kids were with me. Family and friends came for dinner. My sweetheart was with me. We all cooked and drank and ate and played cards and danced to my vinyl records on the turntable. The New Year arrived filled with love and more food and wine and family and dancing.

I've taught in St. petersburg FL and gave a reading in Miami. But mostly I've written, every day. And made yummy food. And read. And knit.

What I've read so far this year:
The Trespasser by Tana French
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso
Hourglass by Dani Shapiro
and almost finished with Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Also, I am reading a story a week from the Best 100 Stories of the Century, edited by Lorrie Moore. This week I read the first one in the book, by Edna Ferber. It slayed me!

I had the great good fortune of going to the Pulpwood Queen's Girlfriend's Weekend in Nacogdoches Texas, and the added benefit of finding my new favorite yarn store there, Yarnia. They dye their own alpaca yarn and it is heavenly. I quick knit up a blue slouchy hat for my sweetheart and am waiting for a delivery of three more skeins. Meanwhile, I'm working on the Station Wagon Blanket from Mason-Dixon Knitting's book, "Stripes". It is a fun knitting project!!!

Ok. I have a kid eyeballing me to start making dinner: steak and broccoli stir fry with a side of Trader Joe's dumplings. It's Chinese New Year! The Year of the Rat, my Gracie's sign.

It's good to be back here talking to you all!