Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Twenty-four hours ago my plane was leaving LAX. Two empty seats beside me, got to watch a movie that interested me but wasn't good— about as good as air travel is going to get. Even all on time on a less-than-elderly 757. Thank you, American Eagle and American Airlines. One dodgy moment as I was getting up to go to the restroom as the flight attendant paged for the owner of a lost copy of Fifty Shades of Gray. So not mine. There were smirks, but I was reading Lorca!

The hundred-page-per-day resolution is back on, and was met easily this morning with Tawni O'Dell's very good and enjoyable Back Roads. I find her style to be in league with my own aspirations. If I really knew how to write...

More about the SBWC in coming days. In short, what surprised me was how much I enjoyed the experience of leading a workshop, and how incredibly impressed I was by the writers who participated. They not only stayed up late to work on their own material, they stuck around to help their fellow writers, often into the wee small hours. Good writers and good people.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Book List - SBWC 2012

Here is the list of books I heard mentioned favorably at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Below the list is a picture of what I found at the excellent Chaucer’s Books. Titles marked with an asterisk will be bought on audiobook. In some cases they didn’t have the exact title but I was able to buy another book by the same author. There are also a few books in the pile that I found while browsing. A few books will need to come from Amazon.

Flat-rate mailing, here I come.

James Agee - A Death in the Family
Conrad Aiken - Silent Snow, Secret Snow (poetry)
James Baldwin - Blues for Mister Charlie (play)
Richard Brautigan - So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away
Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities
Miles Corwin - Midnight Alley
Douglas Coupland - Life After God
James Gould Cozzens - By Love Possessed
Joan Didion - Play It as It Lays
Joan Didion - Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream
Joan Didion - The Year of Magical Thinking*
Ed Dorn - Gunslinger (poetry)
John Dos Passos - Midcentury
Frederick Exley - A Fan’s Notes
Matti Friedman - The Aleppo Code*
Christopher Isherwood - The World in the Evening
John Katzenbach - The Traveler
Roy Kesey - Pacazo
Federico Garcia Lorca - In Search of Duende
Henning Mankell - Kennedy’s Brain
Cormac McCarthy - Cities of the Plain*
Tim O’Brien - The Things They Carried
Autobiography of Red Cloud
John Sandford - Rules of Prey*
William Saroyan - The Human Comedy
Patrick Suskind - Perfume
Simon Van Booy - Everything Beautiful Began After*
Jeannette Walls - The Glass Castle*
Bailey White - Mama Makes Up Her Mind
Sloan Wilson - A Summer Place

Anything by:

Truman Capote
Raymond Carver
Lucas Hunt (poetry)
Nikki Giovanni (poetry)
Louis Ferlinghetti (poetry)
Sid Stebel
James Thurber
John Updike

Our Revels Now Are Ended.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

So It Begins.

This afternoon the Santa Barbara Writers Conference begins, and for a week I shall suspend my hundred-page-a-day New Year's Reading Resolution. Five months and a week or so of solid reading, and I'm considering how to remake the resolution for next year. The two major changes will be allowing audiobooks into the mix, and reducing my reading requirement by half on any day that I'm actually working on my own book.

Oh, yeah, my own book... maybe that change will have to go into effect before the end of the year.