Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Coming Soon to a Bookstore or Blog Near You: Me


Here we are (finally!), four weeks away from the print publication of THE QUALITIES OF WOOD! Starting tomorrow, I'll be here and there, out and about, squawking about the book to whomever will listen! From now until June 12th, you can read a little something about me and the book at the blogs listed below. More info about the tour at TLC Book Tours, here. I'll post links via my Facebook author page, which you can Like here to be in the loop. And there's still time to enter TLC's May Book Club of the Month Contest, featuring several books, including mine. Enter here.

And there's more! All my southern California peeps, please pencil in one of the bookstore events, where I'll be talking some more and signing your books. June 17th is launch day, so join the celebration in Irvine, or if you're closer to LA, come out to the incomparable Vroman's and say hello.

Bookstore Events

Tuesday, June 17th at 7pm
Barnes & Noble in Irvine, CA
13712 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602

Saturday, June 21st at 4pm
Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena, CA
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101

Mary’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, May 21st: The Ludic Reader
Thursday, May 22nd: Every Free Chance Book Reviews
Friday, May 23rd: BooksAreTheNewBlack
Monday, May 26th: Read Her Like an Open Book
Tuesday, May 27th: Chaotic Compendiums
Wednesday, May 28th: Sincerely Stacie
Thursday, May 29th: Literary Lindsey
Monday, June 2nd: Books on the Table
Tuesday, June 3rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, June 10th: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, June 11th: A Book Geek
Thursday, June 12th: Karen’s Korner

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Waffle Analogy

I was reading an interview with Alexander Payne yesterday. He’s the filmmaker behind the hits Sideways, The Descendants and last year’s Nebraska. The interview was with Gia Coppola, grandchild of you-know-who and a fledgling filmmaker with her own Palo Alto releasing soon. Anyway, Payne was talking about making movies and how each one is a learning process. “I’ve made six feature films,” he says, “and I still don’t think I’ve made a good movie. I mean, they’re OK. I consider myself a 53-year-old film student; it’s just that now I’m being paid to continue to learn.” 

As I’m wont to do, I translated this to writing. And the statement is alternately encouraging and discouraging, isn’t it? Encouraging because we shouldn’t expect our first novel (or second, or sixth) to be the best we’ll ever do. Discouraging because it means we’ll probably never, ever look at a completed manuscript and think: “Now, that there, that’s perfect.”

He offers more food for fodder. Figuratively, with a food metaphor. He assures us: “Your first movie is like the first waffle—the iron isn’t quite hot enough; you haven’t put enough butter. The first waffle you always have to throw away, or you, the cook, eat it, but you’d never serve it. You know, the second waffle is servable.”

Waffles? But it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? And yet, I can’t stop going over all the possibilities inherent in this analogy. Don’t some people like cake-y waffles and some like crispy? Round or square? What about butter and syrup? Fresh fruit? Whipped cream? There are mini-waffles, whole wheat waffles and chocolate chip waffles. There are gluten-free waffles, of course. There are waffle cones—do those count? How in the world will you ever know if you’re serving the right waffle (book)? And now, of course, there are waffle-themed restaurants serving “artisan waffle sandwiches,” waffle burgers and waffles stuffed with lemon meringue pie. The apex (or perhaps, nadir) of all of this is the newly introduced Waffle Taco. I can’t even talk about that, it’s so wrong.

So don’t worry—you’ll never please everyone and there's no accounting for taste! Make your waffle however you’ve always been doing it. Serve it whenever you darn well feel like it and let everyone else decide what to do from there. They’re lucky you’re making them waffles in the first place. 
"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka