My new column (8 of 13), "Love, Muddled and Stirred," is now at the Weeklings.
This morning, an unexpected delivery –– a beautiful dash of sparkle from my friend A. It will pair well with my silver dress. Here's a snapshot of me in it the other night, on the way out the door for oysters and margaritas cozied up at my favorite bar solo, assured that it'd be the highlight of my week 'til I was back there last night for another round in sublime company, like a dream.
From the streets of poor neighborhoods to the racetracks of the rich and the criminal, from restaurants - there's a wonderful Middle Eastern culinary thread you can follow through this novel - to hidden courtyards and apartments to hospitals, we travel with him as he tells - in a breezy, cheerful, but always intelligent voice - the story of his daunting quest to reconnect with his father.
And with that voice, Khosi speaks for himself and for millions - for everyone trying to put together the pieces of a broken family. At one point, Khosi quotes the great food writer, M.F.K. Fisher, who said that the smell of good bread baking is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight. Can we make an analogy between that sense of delight and reading this novel? I think so.
The next edition of "Upstairs at the Square," which I put together and publicize, will feature Cheryl Strayed, whose compendium of "Dear Sugar" advice columns for the Rumpus, Tiny Beautiful Things, follows on the success of her new memoir, Wild, which inspired Oprah to relaunch her book club and has been optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon's production company; and Theo Bleckmann, whose sublime, must-hear new album is Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush, with host Katherine Lanpher on August 2.
And then I'm off to beautiful Mazama, Washington, for the first Mazama Festival of Books, which I've been working on all year.
I spent the weekend with friends in the Hamptons, buying our food from farmers and fishermen, making pancakes, dipping in the surf, going for a swim at dusk, sipping gin and tonics while the grill heats up... Yesterday morning, I was cutting the pink hydrangeas above in the yard when I realized something about my long-held dream of retiring to the country and opening up a flower shop. That chapter doesn't have to revolve around a job. I could just have a garden. This time seems to be all about radically opening up the possibilities, and letting go of rigid concepts in every area of my life. I can simply go with the flow 'til the bone-deep wisdom appears. I suspect that's the wisdom itself.
I did my Spanish homework on the ride home, and enjoyed myself so much that I read twenty lessons. Some useful phrases:
Esa pulsera de diamantes es muy preciosa. Me apetece mucho. Dónde hay un hotel de primera clase? Entregue las flores manana.
(That diamond bracelet is very beautiful. It pleases me very much. Where is the first-class hotel? Deliver the flowers tomorrow.)
It's a lovely summer thing to have a day off in the middle of the week, and I'm enjoying it. I have three interviews in the works, and so I'll make some progress on those, and write tomorrow's column for the Weeklings... on what, I have some ideas, but I'm not sure yet. I find the best way to beckon inspiration is to start with a couple hours of absolutely nothing. I've been spending lots of time in soulful solitude lately. After years of taking care of other people so well, I'm finally learning, slowly, how to do it for myself. Later, I may roast some Cornish game hens, continue happily experimenting with my new juicer, or go out. I'll do whatever I want. Above, my new "official" photo by Zack DeZon.