Los Angeles Time Festival of Books
The thing about the LATfob, as the twitterers call it, is that you always get a coffee cup. This was my third cup acquisition, so I'm feeling like an old hand. After several visits, and severeal appearances in the LAT op-ed, it's still weird to get there and know everybody working there looks at you and wonders who the hell you are. You can't blame them--they have Michael J. Fox and Clive Barker hanging around. Alyssa Milano! Dude, it's L.A.! All us writers form a wall of protoplasm in the green room, grunting our way through coffee and free pastry. I was dying, though, listening to the obscure drop the famous people name-bombs. "John Cusak said to me--and I LOVE that guy!--blah blah blah." That sort of thing.

My own fame-dog name-bomb? Uh. I was hanging around to say hi to T.C. Boyle, but he didn't show. Is that being a fame-whore? I'm not sure. Like, if the famous guy isn't there, if you're just creepin' in the shadows, are you still name-dropping? I enjoyed meeting Leslie, publisher of the awesome new HOMEBOY journal, and I wandered around w/ ol' Tucson pal Tom Miller, looking for our coffee cups. We went from room to room. Where are those confounded cups! Then we found them, and we had to sign for them. A writer w/ no NAME TAG (very important universal validation) grabbed a cup and was chased down and had the cup removed from his grasp. To save face, he announced to all watchers: "Hey, no prob, man! It's not like I don't have lots of coffee cups at home!"

Miller gave me a copy of his Border Literature Map, with all the names on it. "Yours isn't there," he said. "And fuck you! Make your own map!!" Yeah, Tom! Off he went, cup in hand.

I was staying at the Angeleno. You'd like the Angeleno--it's the old Holiday Inn "where Sunset and the 405 meet." All retro-decked out w/ art and cool gewgaws and an insanely friendly staff. (When I got back to the hotel after my appearacnce, the staff called "High fives!" and high-fived me.) Everywhere I went, authors eyed each other wondering if the other guy was a Pulitzer winner or had a hit novel about Nazi sex orgies and death. But without the NAME TAGs, it was impossible to tell. And, since we're writers, our eyes are shot, so nobody could make out what the name-tags said.

You'd hear, "Well...I wrote the biography of Eugene Debbs currently being discussed on NPR...." Can't put that in a laminate on a cord around your neck.

My event was wonderful. We had a great time. The publisher had arranged to send advance copies of Into the Beautiful North, so the audience actually saw the hardcovers before I did. I still don't have one. The line was long--I signed a lot of books. All copies of the new one sold.

Thank you, L.A. Thank you, fans and supporters. The big love came out, and I was fed and
uplifted by you all.

PS How do you like this new website design?

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