Monday, July 31, 2006

Lunch with my Agent

For those who have always wondered what happens when you lunch with your agent - this post is for you.
And for all you who wonder what it's like to say "I'm having lunch with my agent", know that my head will Never be the same size.
So anyway, I called Caren and told her I was in NY (this is the day I arrived and I am still jet-lagged but in the good way - when you come over from Europe you are all full of energy from 4 am until 4 pm and then suddenly you keel over.) Anyhow, I was still awake so I called Caren and she said "Great - let's meet at this restaurant in Union Square. I'll call and make reservations for two!"
and I said, "Well, I think I'll be bringing my daughter." and when I said this, my mom made all kinds of waving motions that meant 'me too, me too!' so I said, "and my mom will be there too."
"And Sam!" my mom said loudly.
Caren said "What?"
And I said, "My mom wants to come. And Sam will be there too. He's my step brother. Sort of. Well, you'll see."
But she was cool and said, "Great - see you tomorrow!"
And the next day we got up before the sunrise (jetlag the right way, remember) and caught the train to the city. We did the NY Times crossword going down - my mom is a whizz at that - and my daughter looked at the Hudson river and asked "are we there yet?" a hundred times. And then we Were there, in the city - and we took the subway to Union Square because the subway is the only way to get around in the city. (when you're on a budget.) But it was Hot that day - hot and humid. There was the Gay Pride parade on 5th ave. so we stopped and watched for a while. We got to the restaurant (a Cuban place on 17th street) and we met Caren and she had brought her boyfriend. He was raelly cute, and he was from Westerville, of all places. You find out how small the world really is when you find out your agent's boyfriend is from the town your sister lives in now. Weird.
And the conversation went like this:
Me: How do you like being an agent?
Caren: I...
My Mother: So, when are you going to sell Jenny's books?
Caren: Well, I sent them to some editors and...
My Mother: And did you read her Iskander series yet? And the Promise? You have to read the Promise, my kids love it.
Caren: Your kids?
My Mother : I teach English in a maximum security prison and I use Jenny's books for my classes. So, when are Jenny's books going to sell?

But like I said, Caren was cool, and she just laughed and didn't grip her knife tighter or anything, and she told my mother where she'd sent my books and which editors were reading them.
Of course that's when I knock over my black bean soup and I don't get to hear the last part because the waiter is looking Daggers at me, and my daughter is laughing like a loon because she heard the waiter say 'Oh Great'. I try to mop up the mess and make it worse, and then Sam comes in and takes over the conversation, thank goodness, because I'm really shy and shyness makes me nervous and when I get nervous I get clumsy, & I'm just sure my mom is going to make my agent wish she'd never signed me on. (Just kidding. Honest mom.)
Sam tells us about his brother's Tony awards (yes, awardS with an S - Jason won Two!) We're all impressed. Sam calls Jason and tells him how impressed we are. VERY. I wonder briefly where Caren sent my books. Figure mom will tell me later. (she forgot - thought I was taking notes.) Ha.

After lunch we all walked down to SOHO, Little Italy (for some ice-cream, of course) and then to Chinatown just for fun. (It's like going to a foreign country - so amazing - they sell these huge frogs in a bucket and there were kids reaching in to grab them with tongs!) And then we took the subway back to Penn Station - it was almost 5 pm and I had keeled over mentally about an hour back. (Sorry Caren, anything I said after 4 pm made no sense at all, but my brain was fried) My daughter was asleep on her feet. Mom adored Caren from the minute she saw her and she kept saying "Your agent is so nice!" she also thought she was awfully young. LOL. That part is true - she is young. Thank goodness. Sam made sure we got our train (he is so sweet!!) and we went back to Hudson - my daughter and I fell asleep on the train - jet lag is such a pain.


Patrice Michelle tagged me, so here is the result:

When did you start blogging and why? I started about two years ago because I've always had a diary and this just seemed a logical extension of that. I stopped writing on paper and transposed onto the net.

What don't you talk about? Oh, lots of things. I think everyone is entitled to their beliefs and opnions - but you don't have to wave them around, jump up and down, and express yourself constantly. I try to keep my blog more about my life than about my opinions.

Are you and your blogging persona the same person? I think so - I don't really think about it to tell the truth. I'm just writing a diary here...

How do you use blogging to build friendships?
Definetely - I have 'met' many wonderful people online that I could not have 'met' anywhere or anyhow else and I'm grateful. (and hope someday to meet everyone in person!)

How would you describe your writing style? Relaxed, I suppose. It's not particularly snarky or clever, although I do admire cleverly written blogs, and snarky blogs often have me laughing outloud. But I'm just writing my diary, so somedays it's boring and somedays it's not...Like my life, I suppose!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sam the camera nut

Here is a picture of me taken by my sister two weeks ago. We were at my uncle's camp where we wre' having a family picnic. The sun was shining. We'd left all our worries about my dad at home (we agreed on that when we went out that day) and we were just having a nice time. As you can see, I have a camera in my hands. (photo to be added later when Blogger stops acting up)

I almost always have a camera in my hand or in my purse. My dad, who was an avid photographer, bought me my first camera when I was 6 years old, (a little brownie camera) and when my first roll of film was developed we discovered a whole tribe of headless monsters. I'd cut the head off every person I'd taken pictures of. So my father didn't develop another roll of film for a while, but had me 'practice' with my empty camera trying to frame my shots better. When I said I was ready, he gave me another roll of film (this was back in the 60's and film and developing pictures was pretty expensive.)
I loved experimenting with my camera, and took pictures of everything. Once, wanting to be a playboy photographer, I asked my sister (then about 7) to pose in the nude holding only a big flower to cover herself modestly. The picture was so cute my mom showed it to everyone, which infuriated my sister and she tore the photo to shreds.
I graduated to a polaroid camera, and then, when I graduated highschool, my father bought me my first real camera, a wonderful Canon. I loved that camera and took it all over the world with me, taking photos of camels in Morrocco, the coast in Israel, and beaches in the Bahamas and the Canary Islands. Most of my pictures I sent back to my dad. But then his house burned down, and all his photos burned too. It was a tragedy for my father. He had been taking pictures since he was a kid too - and I think he was far more upset about his photo collection than about his house.
Over the years, I've taken thousands of photos, and I have two bookcases full of photo albums, and a 'treasure box' of an odd assortment of pictures that my kids love to dig through.
Do you like taking pictures too?

Monday, July 24, 2006

French Fireman

My son Sebi is almost done with his training. I love his uniform - all that's missing is the helmet (shiny and gold here). He posed for me so I thought I'd post his photo here. If you come to France and see this uniform, you will know it's a fireman!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hot weather

It's far hotter than usual here in France. The grass, despite the frequent thunderstorms, is bleached nearly white and the air is heavy and still. I bought two fans at the hardware store - they were the two last fans in the store! I rather like them; they're retro style, silver, like something you'd see in the office of a private eye in an old detective movie. When I see them I feel like leaning back in my chair and putting my feet up on my desk.

I have been trying to catch up on blogs and such, but haven't had much time. I was gone for over a month, and my son and husband were here by themselves...and neither is 'into' housework. So I've been busy scrubbing and cleaning. In the heat it takes longer.

I've also been reading a lot. My mom gave me a stack of books when I was in NY (my suitcases were Heavy!) and I read Mo Hayder's 'The Devil of Nanking' with my skin just crawing in horror. What a cool book. I'm also reading 'Flyboys', a terrific book about Io and Imo Jima in the Pacific. Absolutely fascinating. And sad too. The Human race is SO fucked up. The word is strong, but you have to read the book to understand why I use it.
Anyhow, for summer reading I would reccommend 'Flyboys' and 'The' Devil of Nanking' and for something light and fun, 'Eleven on Top' by Janet Evanovich. (recommended by my aunt)

What are you reading this summer?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Been gone

I've been remiss about writing in my blog, but I've had a very sad summer so far. In the space of a month, my father fell ill and died, and I will miss him dreadfully.

Now I am trying to think of other things and find joys in small things; thankfully that has always been easy for me. A butterfly, a summer storm, a book someone sent me, a bracelet from Lourdes, and a note written on rice paper...Every day brings small pleasures and my heart grows lighter. Today, I decided that my blog looked sad and empty and I found I wanted to change that.
I went back and found something I'd written about him a while ago and wanted to post it, so here it is:

I thought I knew my dad - well, I mean, I do know him. He's the best dad I could ever wish for. He built us a tree fort, he loved to do things with us, and he's always loved to take us places. He was never too busy for us. My sisters and brothers all agree - he is a terrific dad. Anyway, My uncle came to visit the other week. He came on an army plane, so he flew for free. He was in the army for ages, and he fought in Vietnam and in the first Gulf War. He's NRA all the way, and a right wing conservative. I, (being a bleeding heart liberal,) get along really well with him, lol. Actually, we get along great. We both love to talk, and we both love to discuss matters. Well, we were discussing the war (both of us firmly on our sides, neither giving an inch, but having a good time.) and he said, "well, your dad would agree (I forgot what we were arguing about) because he fought in the Korean war."
I knew that. But you know what? It didn't mean anything to me. I never learned about the Korean war. I imagined him on a boat somewhere (marine = boat) And then my uncle said, "Yeah, he was in the battle of the Chosin Resevoire" in a tone of voice that could only be described as awe. I had no idea what that was. And so, to educate me, my uncle sent me a book to read. It was pretty amazing. I thought I knew everything about my dad, and here I discover he was in the marines, in the Fox company, fighting an amazing battle in the Chosin resevoire. (He just says, 'yeah, I fought against the Chinese and crossed the frozen Chosin.') Well, the book is the story told by different soldiers - it's called 'The Korean War, From Pusan to Chosin', and it's compiled by Donald Knox. It is just an amazing book. My son is reading it now, and he won't put it down. I thought I knew my history, but I didn't. And I missed something important about my dad too.
It puts another facet on the diamond that's my dad. He shines even brighter now.

I wrote that a while ago, and I wish I'd had more time to talk to him - but I suppose we always think that when someone we love passes away.
Mostly, I like to look at the photos I have of him and remember the things he did or said - he had a wonderful sense of humor and was always telling a funny story or a joke.
Here is a photo of my father when he was 18 and had just joined the marines.

Dad, I'm going to miss you.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

been away a while

My trip to NY has not gone as planned - my dad was very ill and I spent lots of time in the hospital with him. I am in Ohio now, visiting with my sister (who drove to NY to see my dad too - we drove back to her house together)
I keep trying to get computer time but it's not easy, nor have I been trying very hard - summer is kid and family time, so forgive me if I don't post often!
I did go to NYC and met my agent, caren. It was a lot of fun. I brought my mom, daughter, and Sam, my step-brother. LOL! Caren brought her boyfriend, who, it turns out, is from my sister's town here in Ohio! We had a great lunch in a Cuban restaurant - and then we strolled through China town and Soho. Lots of fun. I can't wait to go to NYC again - hopefully for longer than just an afternoon this time. I didn't have time to plan anything - it was in between hospital visits, but hopefully things will quiet down and I'll be back in NYC again soon!