So I'm back from the west coast - I had incredible visits to San Fran and Seattle.
I was at Orinda Books (THEY HAVE A SHOP CAT NAMED GINGER!) with the charming Ron Hansen, who read a passage from his new book She Loves Me Not that was so good I was hoping I wouldn't have to follow it up.
Next I read at Book Passage, a gorgeous waterside store that has been outrageously good to my book. Are you supposed to feel at home at a book store across the country from where you live? I did. I love those guys.
I'm weirdly crazy about radio events, and I had two super experiences in CA at "The Writer's Block" and with the inimitable Jim Foster and his "Conversations on the Coast." I'll post links to the broadcasts when they're ready.
I think my love for radio all started with the toy microphone I had growing up (it totally had a picture of Michael Jackson in a yellow vest on it). I didn't say anything weird on air in CA, but when I have the ear phones on and the mic in front of me I feel very much like I could recreate a bit part in We Are the World.
Next was Seattle, which was stunning even in its dreariness. I had a super time at University Bookstore, which is enormous and even has a makeup counter inside. A first.
My hotel in Seattle was crazy cool - it was dog friendly, and had book-themed restaurants. It also had a perfume shop, and I got mercilessly attacked by the proprietress and was so covered in perfume that I had to run away and shower before my reading. Never. Again.
Near the end of the trip, I was so homesick that I was stopping people on the street to pet their dogs and had the urge to hold other people's children, even if they were having a tantrum. I ate alone at restaurants and probably talked too much to the waitresses.
Here's the thing: people are nice. I get nervous before I strike off to new places, and then I'm bowled over by how good people are to me. I had a driver who went and got me snacks for my red eye plane flight back home while I was reading - I mean - COME ON. I had friends who leaped through flaming hoops to get to my readings. I had a book store give me the most gorgeous customized stationery - making me feel like a total rock star, when they are the ones doing me all the favors in the world.
But most of all - my home tribe was good to me, especially the Dogtor and my girls, who enthusiastically pushed me out of the door so I could do my thing. As usual, my friends rallied around us and helped keep my family fed and happy.