Towse: views from the hill

October 19, 2010

Bouchercon SF 2010

Filed under: life,writing — Tags: , — Towse @ 3:59 pm

Here’s where I’ve been.

June 6, 2009

Naked, Drunk, and Writing – Adair Lara

Filed under: books,commentary,people,writing — Towse @ 5:32 pm

Naked, Drunk, and Writing: writing essays and memoirs for love and money by Adair Lara. [an Amazon click]

Adair Lara was talking about her new book this past Wednesday at Book Passage, Corte Madera. (She also teaches classes there on occasion.)

I mentioned her appearance on Facebook (although I didn’t drive across the bridge to see her) and added

Adair Lara wrote a column for the Chronicle … until she didn’t. I liked the column. Miss her.

A sample of her column work.

Fun thing about Amazon is that you can (often) poke into a book and see how it begins. On the first page of Lara’s new book, I read

If I even think about writing, I find myself in the pantry eating cereal straight from the box. Writing is a scary, vulnerable, and in a way conceited act, one that says the words you set down are worth a stranger’s time to read, and that this is a worthy use of your own time.

I may take Lara’s book to Camp to read, even if I’m not intending to write a memoir any time soon. …

May 18, 2009

Questions for Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s Fiction Editor

Filed under: writing,writing-market — Towse @ 9:45 pm

Questions for Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s Fiction Editor [15 Dec 2008]

For the past five years or so, anywhere from a fifth to a quarter of the stories published in the magazine have been by writers who hadn’t previously published fiction in The New Yorker. Some had been published elsewhere already; some hadn’t.

May 4, 2009

Anna Quindlen Steps Aside

Filed under: news,writers,writing — Towse @ 12:32 am

AnnaQ is a month and four days older than I am, another water dragon. The 18 May 2009 issue of Newsweek Magazine contains her resignation from her gig writing LAST WORD, which she’s had for the last nine years.

THE LAST WORD – Anna Quindlen (18 May 2009 issue of Newsweek)

This page, this place, is an invaluable opportunity to shed some light. But if I had any lingering doubts about giving it up after almost nine years, they were quelled by those binders on my desk, full of exemplary work by reporters young enough to be my children. Flipping through their pages, reading such essential and beautifully rendered accounts of life in America and around the world, I felt certain of the future of the news business in some form or another. But between the lines I read another message, delivered without rancor or contempt, the same one I once heard from my own son: It’s our turn. Step aside. And now I will.

Boy, am I feeling like a dinosaur.

April 30, 2009

[URL] Dickensurl.com

Filed under: app,URL,writers,writing — Towse @ 4:41 pm

Dickensurl.com

Convert your URL to a Dickensian quote.

Mine?

Under an accumulation of staggerers, no man can be considered a free agent. No man knocks himself down; if his destiny knocks him down, his destiny must pick him up again.

From The Old Curiosity Shop

Above quote has been attributed to
http://www.towse.com/blogger/blog.htm

[via Bella Stander's twitterfeed]

April 24, 2009

This Is Your Wake-up Call: 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing

Filed under: publishers,writing — Tags: , — Towse @ 8:34 pm

This Is Your Wake-up Call: 12 Steps to Better Book Publishing

[...]

The underlying problem facing the industry is twofold: there are too many books, and too many of them are derivative of each other. You’ve heard of Gresham’s Law—the idea that bad money drives out good. Our industry has long suffered from Grisham’s Law, where opportunistic authors and publishers try to imitate John Grisham and other category leaders with books modeled on someone else’s commercial success. That strategy might make sense if there were great demand for these imitators, but in today’s overcrowded, competitive marketplace, this kind of thinking is dangerous, because it devalues the environment into which we present our work.

[...]

[link via Dystel & Goderich Management blog]

April 23, 2009

The classic Alice B. Toklas recipe

Filed under: books,food,history,recipes,writers,writing — Towse @ 9:46 pm

I found a good home for my softcover edition of The ALICE B. TOKLAS COOKBOOK. I have an older, hardcover, first edition that I intend to keep but, really, there aren’t many differences ‘twixt these two.

One difference, the newer edition has a foreword by MFK Fisher.

One other crucial difference, for those of us who spent our young adult years in the sixties and seventies, this edition contains the recipe that (for legal reasons) the publisher could not include in the first edition. Yes, the recipe for Haschich Fudge — no, not brownies … fudge, even though the talk was always of Alice B. Toklas brownies.

The Haschich Fudge recipe is not a Toklas original, but rather came to Toklas from painter and film-maker Brion Gysin, according to the notes.

————-
Haschich Fudge (which anyone could whip up on a rainy day)

This is the food of Paradise — of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by ‘un évanouissement reveillé.’

Take 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of coriander. These should be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of canibus sativa [sic] can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.

Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as canibus sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognised, everywhere in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope. In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called canibus indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.
————-

Now that I’ve saved the recipe (although for what reason I don’t know), I can pass the copy of the later edition on to someone who will give it a good home.

April 17, 2009

My star turn on Jungle Red Writers: Writing well is the best revenge

Filed under: internet resources for writers,life,writing — Towse @ 5:13 pm

Hallie Ephron asked if I could guest on Jungle Red and introduce Internet Resources for Writers to people who might not know about it.

The gig consists of Hallie’s interview with me (already in the can) and me checking in and sticking around during the day answering any questions that might come up.

Today’s the BIG DAY!

Should be fun.

April 14, 2009

Robert J Sawyer @ Borderlands Books

Filed under: books,bookstores,photographs,writers,writing — Towse @ 6:41 am

 

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No, actually. That’s Ripley, Borderlands Books‘ hairless cat.

Ripley sat in my lap purring and snoozing during Sawyer’s talk and was reluctant to leave it when the presentation was over.

We hied off to Foreign Cinema afterwards for a late dinner, Sawyer having signed my copy of WAKE before the event kicked off.

Check out the book and the other seventeen books and zillions of short fiction items Sawyer has written.

The pilot for a FLASH FORWARD series is up for consideration in the next few days. Good luck to Sawyer on that.

After dinner at Foreign Cinema it was home again home again via the #14 Mission and the #30 Stockton, and a quarter mile walk up Telegraph Hill and home. The transit connections, though, were perfect. Maybe a four minute wait for the #14 and another four minute wait for the #30. Can’t get much better than that. Thanks, Muni.

April 13, 2009

IN MEMORIAM Air Devil

Filed under: life,writing — Towse @ 5:57 pm

IN MEMORIAM Air Devil [PDF]

Found this just now. Eagle Call. Spring 2006.
Published by and for Civil Air Patrol – California Wing, of which my dad was a member for over forty years.

My dad’s article about his 10K’ sky dive to celebrate his eightieth birthday.

His original title was probably I JUMPED FROM A PERFECTLY GOOD AIRPLANE. All we know is that the editor changed the title before press time, when he found out that Dad had died.

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