Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pit bull lovers in Iowa City

I was supposed to be in Iowa City this morning, drinking coffee at Java House before attending a pit bull workshop, where I was scheduled to speak. I love pit bulls. I love Iowa City. I was looking forward to this. But earlier in the week I made the mistake of thinking that my cold was just an allergy, and by Thursday I was bedridden, feverish, coughing, watery nosed, and somewhat delirious. Friday I felt a little better, got up, did laundry, walked the dogs, and had several people say "Oh my god you look terrible." So I did something I've never done before: I cancelled my little appearance. And I feel awful about it. Yet, this morning, after going to bed early, I'm still hacking up phlegm. And my mother will now read this and call to tell me to get to a doctor. OKAY, I will.

Still, I'd much rather be in a room with 70 other pit bull people, hearing stories about how ridiculous they can be.

My own little pit bull, Sula, woke me up at about five this morning, insisting it was time for her walk with Brando, which is how we start the day. And for some reason, her high-pitched yipping from her crate, next to my bed, made me think: She's really just like Paris Hilton.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

and the bronze medal goes to ... The Dogs Who Found Me

One of the many strange things that happened at BEA is that I ran into Steve O'Keefe from AuthorViews and he said, "Congratulations on your award." Had I won an award? "The silver medal," he said. I asked my publisher, they didn't know about it. Finally, I ran down to the Forward Magazine's booth. They sponsor a best of the year award for independent publishers. And there it was: a bronze medal in the pet category for The Dogs Who Found Me. The gold went to Just Gus, a book I love, so I can't be bitter and jealous. There is a certificate involved, suitable for framing. I gave it to my publisher, since it would no doubt be destroyed by the time I carried it home.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Revacuation arrives at the National Book Critics Circle blog

My friend/neighbor/colleague Brad Benischek is featured over at the National Book Critics Circle Blog, talking about New Orleans and his graphic novel, Revacuation: CRITICAL MASS: Thinking About New Orleans #8: Brad Benischek

NOTES FROM BEA: Lots of babies...and what to do when the galleys are misprinted

I had a great but crazy, brief visit to the Book Expo in New York yesterday. I arrived Saturday evening and went straight to the Strand for their 80th birthday party. As I emerged from my cab, Rene Steinke appeared and we talked on the street. She pulled out pictures of her curly headed two year old, and then she was off to get home to Brooklyn, which is where everyone who used to live in Manhattan lives. Catherine Texier arrived, and we went upstairs, where I immediately ran into Francine Prose and Howie Michels. They are new grandparents, and Francine talked of nothing else. The books editor of Time Out came by, and then I began to hunt frantically for food.

Catherine and I ended up walking back to the east village, had some great food at one of the newer little restaurants on Avenue C (Esperanto was too long a wait), and then met a gorgeous pit bull on the way home. "I see that dog every day--I had no idea it was a pit bull!" Catherine said as I made out with the dog.

In the morning, I was off to the Book Expo at the Javits Center, where I ran into Sophie Cotrell supervising the line for galleys of Alice Sebold's new novel. "I don't go to anything anymore," Sophie said. "I just had another kid." How many do you have, I asked. "Three, I think."

I picked up galleys for the new Junot Diaz novel. Actually, I took two. And a few bags of other goodies. Then I headed to the Globe Pequot booth for my own signing. We gave out 200 galleys of my new book, along with chocolate bones with the title on the wrapper, all under the watchful eyes of a giant poster of my dog Brando. Very surreal.

Then I hopped on a plane home. And this morning--gasp!--I looked at the galleys for the first time and discovered that there was a major error in the formatting of the book. Gulp! For anyone who actually has the galley, here's the secret to making sense of it: There are chapters in which I tell stories of dogs I have met (hence the title) alternating with brief letters from actual people in their own voices. The letters are meant to be chapters on their own, little palate cleansers between courses of dogs. But as they are now, they appear at the end of each chapter as if they are part of the chapter itself. Insert an imaginary break, please.