Nuvia Crisol Guerra on “Domestic Disobedience”

Nuvia Crisol Guerra is passionate, well-spoken, well-informed and charismatic. It’s easy to see why she was chosen to be the guest-curator of such an important show focusing on the Latina experience: Domestic Disobedience, Redefining the Feminine Space.

It all started with an essay by Amalia Mesa-Bains, entitled Domesticana: The Sensibility of Chicana Rasquache. Nuvia said it so closely spoke to her own experience, that she knew she wanted it as the focus of the show.

Amalia Mesa-Bains’ essay speaks to the esthetic of Chicano art, how rasquachismo comes out of simple survival; in the home, their personal lives and in the studio. It’s using objects that they’ve known their entire lives – what’s been around them – in a new way.

Nuvia tells me about how growing up, her parents would grow plants in broken coffee pots or milk jugs, whatever they had. She tells me about visiting her family in Mexico and how they placed used tires to create a retaining wall. “It’s about using elements for something where they are not supposed to be used, because it comes down to survival and it’s then reflected in Chicano art,” she says.

Amalia Mesa-Bains’ essay includes the civil rights movement, the Chicano movement and the gender stratification that starts in the home. “I’m a visual artist and my work has always focused on the Latina experience and my personal experience as Latina, and the conflicts and challenges I’ve had, and the choices that I’ve made in having an education, getting married much later than my parents would have liked, and my choice of not having children,” Nuvia tells me.

Thinking about all those conflicts and challenges, I looked at other artists to see how they were resolving some of these conflicts, how it was coming out in their work.”

“Even though these female artists were involved in the Chicano movement, once it became about their home, they still had the challenges, had these roles they had to fulfill, and if they didn’t, a conflict was created with their spouses, within their family, and at times were too much to bare. This is not only amongst women of color, but all women artists.”

“All that has resonated with me as I decided to make art more, a bigger part of my life. It’s scary to think about becoming a sustainable artist and putting together all my skills to succeed and to do this as a professional career. Pretty much what I’ve learned … is that it’s at all costs,” Nuvia tells me.

Here’s a look behind the scenes of Domestic Disobedience with Nuvia at the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery (Exhibition and artist details below the video):

Domestic Disobedience, Redefining the Feminine Space
San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery

Location: Art Gallery – D101 and Gallery Courtyard
Dates: March 15 – April 19, 2012
Hours: MTW 11-4 pm, Thursday 11 – 8 pm. Closed Fridays, weekends and school holidays.
Reception: Thursday, March 15, 5:00 – 7:00 pm D101 and Gallery Courtyard
Artist Panel Discussion: 7:00 pm in G-101
Artists Present: Ana Teresa Fernandez (SD), Carolyn Castano (LA), Sonia Romero (LA), Angelica Muro (SJ), Viviana Paredes (SF)

Exhibiting Artist:

Juana Alicia
Claudia Alvarez
Carolyn Castano
Ana Teresa Fernandez
Ester Hernandez
Delilah Montoya
Angelica Muro
Viviana Paredes
Isis Rodriguez
Sonia Romero
Amalia Mesa-Bains

San Diego Artist: Perry Vasquez, Part 1

(Posted at San Diego Union Tribune)

Yesterday I posted about Alexander Jarman, who is curating a show at the Southwestern College Art Gallery called More Real Than Life: An Exhibition of Contemporary Collage.

Today I’m focusing on Perry Vasquez, the gallery director, and artist in his own right.

Perry was nice enough to let me come to the Southwestern College Art Gallery to see the show coming together. It’s great to go see a show on opening night and view all the pieces, plumped up in the perfect light and showing off their party dresses, but there is something altogether fascinating to me about getting a behind-the-scenes look at the parts that make up the finished show. The nitty gritty, if you will. It’s enough to whet your appetite and make you hungry for opening night.

I’ve got another video coming of Perry, which I hope to post early next week, that focuses on his own work. The following video is a sneak peak into the upcoming exhibition, More Real Than Life.


Thursday, March 8: Opening
Artist Talk for Students and Staff: 12 p.m., Reception 11-1
Public Reception: 6-10 p.m. Artist Talk 7-7:30 p.m.
Light refreshments provided

Southwestern College is located at 900 Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista, California. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-5

Exhibiting Artists:

Sadie Barnette, Based in San Diego, CA.
Mike Calway-Fagen, Based in San Diego, CA.
Troy Dugas, Based in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Lola Dupre, Based in Avignon, France.
Chris Kardambikis, Based in San Diego, CA.
Gordon Magnin, Based in Los Angeles, CA.
Morgan Manduley, Based in San Diego, CA.
May-ling Martinez, Based in San Diego, CA.
Arturo Medrano, Based in New York City, NY.
Jason Sherry, Based in San Diego, CA.
Joshua Tonies, Based in San Diego, CA.

San Diego Artist: Alexander Jarman

Alexander Jarman shows me his studio. He wears a tie and a sweater. His manner is quiet and professional and perhaps a bit reserved. At least until you get him talking about something he cares about: Art. Then, his face lights up and he becomes someone you’d like to pull a chair up closer to, and drink great coffee with, while he explains how William S. Burroughs and the dadaists were collage artists.

I got to experience one of Alexander’s projects he did with his sister and fellow artist, Savannah Jarman, called the Picnic Project. The Jarmans collected fabric and created a 1000ft picnic blanket, which debuted at last year’s Art Labs during the San Diego Art Fair.

Alexander’s studio is small and cozy. He’s a collage artist, so piles of snipped papers are everywhere. It’s a bit of a treat for your eyes, these pieces he puts together. Colors, images, shapes and logos you recognize, cut, arranged and glued together in new ways.

Alexander is curating a show at the Southwestern College Art Gallery which opens this Thursday night, March 8th (details below the video): More Real Than Life, An Exhibition of Contemporary Collage.

Thursday, March 8: Opening
Artist Talk for Students and Staff: 12 p.m., Reception 11-1
Public Reception: 6-10 p.m. Artist Talk 7-7:30 p.m.
Light refreshments provided

Southwestern College is located at 900 Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista, California. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-5

Exhibiting Artists:

Sadie Barnette, Based in San Diego, CA.
Mike Calway-Fagen, Based in San Diego, CA.
Troy Dugas, Based in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Lola Dupre, Based in Avignon, France.
Chris Kardambikis, Based in San Diego, CA.
Gordon Magnin, Based in Los Angeles, CA.
Morgan Manduley, Based in San Diego, CA.
May-ling Martinez, Based in San Diego, CA.
Arturo Medrano, Based in New York City, NY.
Jason Sherry, Based in San Diego, CA.
Joshua Tonies, Based in San Diego, CA.

Mocha Momma on Race and Education

I spoke with Kelly of Mocha Momma fame about race issues in general, approaching the conversation, but also specifically in education. Kelly is an assistant Principal and has been an educator for years. She has first hand knowledge of how perceptions of race affect our youth. She has some really great discussions going on over at Mocha Momma. We’ve had some lengthy phone calls, but I’ve narrowed down what I’d really like to share with you all. Please see below, my interview with Kelly.

Is this everyone’s fight? Why?

I’m sure it is, but I think we first have to get past being able to talk about it. It’s uncomfortable and people love to say in their comfort zone, but too often the conversation gets stilted because it becomes a wait-I’m-not-racist when that’s not the issue. It wouldn’t *get* there if people were willing to do more listening to one another. To be honest, it needs to come from the people who want to claim so quickly that they’re not racist. Not enough listening is going on so we can’t get to the meat of things.

What is your first memory of injustice or racism? How did it shape your life?

I’m not sure how old I was but it was an age when I could still be carried by my father on his shoulders or have to hold his hand while we were out. This incident was especially painful because I recall how my dad looked when it happened. We were out getting ice cream and we walked to Baskin Robbins where there was a long line. I was on his hip and the white woman in front of us kept looking back at him. Most of the time I paid no attention to the stares, but in the late 70s we were still viewed as something to be gawked at so I got used to it later in life. I’m sure I was fussing at him and being a brat about what I wanted and he was telling me no in a stern, parental voice but the woman butted in because I looked much whiter than my black father so she took it upon herself to say something to him about talking to kids that didn’t belong to him in a ‘nasty tone’. He let her have it and I recall being afraid of this confrontation in a public place. In my small child mind I began to wonder if I did belong and that shaped my life profoundly. Where do I fit in? Where do I belong? Will I always feel like an outsider?

Can someone be racist if they have no first-hand experience with other races?

Of course they can. Especially if they watch tv, read books, and see the news. Racism is covertly displayed in all these things because of constantly perpetuated stereotypes in those places. When you only hear those things and finally come into contact with the other race, that is your baseline. How would a person who has never met a black person ever know that the stereotypes are just that unless their experience is broadened by experiencing other cultures? This question reminds me of when people tell me they don’t see color and I have such a problem with that. Here’s the thing…that story I told about my father shaped my whole world. You have to know that about me to understand a lot of things about the person I’ve become. Conversely, I have to know important things about people, too, and that’s where the listening, understanding, and paying attention to differences of color and culture come in to play.

What can educators do? What about truth in history books?

Some of the things educators can do are already being done like finally trying to seek teachers of different cultures to reflect student populations. You already know this about me, Leah, but I took my current position for that very reason because the student population had 40% black students and there wasn’t one black teacher there. I had to step out on some faith and be the first one to say this wasn’t okay if students only saw black adults in their building as janitors and security guards. While those are fine, respectable jobs, they need to see a variety. This year, we have two new black adults in educated positions and I feel really good about that.

As far as truth in history books goes, we are losing the battle because of who makes money here. On a small scale, we can look at good pieces like James W. Loewen’s “Lies My Teacher Told Me” and teach students to read critically and think about history with analytical and interpretive minds. For example, I found something recently from my alma mater that profiled a woman (she is white) who has a high profile job as a jury profiler. In the article it mentioned that she got a great education from doing a college project where she examined people at a country club and she said that it gave her a diverse background. While reading it I thought, “Country clubs are diverse? Since when?” and it seemed ridiculous to me. I wanted to take that article into the classroom and ask the students to see if they could read that critically when presented with information that doesn’t sit well with them.

On a larger scale, we have to look at textbook adoption. The big states that seem to run the textbook publishing companies have traditionally been Texas and California. Whatever they use is mass produced and mass published and many states look to see what they’re using, even if it’s a poor choice of text. I’m still not pleased with many history books that treat black history in a demeaning manner. It’s relegated to a chapter or unit and separated from the rest of American history. It’s frustrating because black history IS American history. Who drives that stuff? Why are cultures so separate in world history when it’s so melded together?

What do you hope to accomplish with your online writing? Do you feel you are doing it?

I just want to start a conversation where there has been no conversation before. I want to teach people, but I know I must be gentle in that quest. Some people don’t want to learn. They only want to argue their point and why they are right. And even still, some people don’t think I should be doing it or elevating myself to a status of feeling important enough to start this conversation. Mostly, I aimed at calling something out and that is this: We’re not really ready to talk about race. When people tell me that Stockett’s book “The Help” has been instrumental in doing that I have to call bullshit. No way. Black people have been having this conversation for a long, long time and the world has largely been ignoring it. But a white woman comes along who grew up with a black maid and all of a sudden white middle class women are suddenly comfortable with the conversation. There is something horribly wrong with that scenario. I have been wholly unprepared for the responses I’m getting for my part in the conversation, but something tells me that I am doing it. We are getting there. And “there” is where people from different cultures, backgrounds, ages, etc… are having this conversation together. That is my goal.

What do you think of the white savior issue? Where do you see it? How can we change it?

I’m sick of it. It’s a tired, lazy way of writing and expressing creativity and we see it everywhere. Movies, books, news. We can change it by first recognizing it because I have had recent conversations with educated people who still miss it. That critical thinking piece I was talking about with students needs to happen with adults. (and without the rage and passive aggression that I have recently seen on my own blog comments)

Is there a specific group of people that need to be educated more than others?

Yes. Everyone who vehemently defends where racism is not.

If there are different education needs for different groups, how can we facilitate that?

As an educator, I have had to ask myself what to do with a classroom full of students with varying backgrounds and ability levels. Do I focus on the lowest achievers because there is a sense of urgency? Do I stick with the largest group in the middle academic levels? Do I teach to the kids who are highly achieving and exceeding expectations? The answer is this: you teach to the top. You always have to teach to the top BUT you offer the supports other students need in getting there to reach the goals you have for the class.

In a case like The Help, should people see it to educate themselves?

Educate themselves about what? How white people view things? I think we’ve had enough of that. Didn’t that already happen with Gone With the Wind? Driving Miss Daisy? Dangerous Minds? Come on, we’ve seen that story before and if the goal was to “educate themselves” and it didn’t already happen then I don’t know when it will. How many more Magical Negro movies do we need? No, that movie shouldn’t be used because it’s lazy. It isn’t a story about black women and their voices that were eventually found. It’s a story about a white woman and the black maids are simply essential plot devices to the salvation of the white person’s soul. It’s more alienation than transcendence, but look at how many people want to defend it.

What is one thing, small and accomplishable, the people can do today?

Get out of their comfort zones and start asking more questions rather than offering trite answers. This includes everyone because we all have much to learn.

How are kids growing up today being shaped in terms of race? How will their generation will look at things?

Children are looking at race differently than my generation did. It stands to reason that this is true of every generation, but this one worries me in the sense that kids are actually seeing MORE stereotypes in media than I ever did as a child. Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club, Real Housewives are really terrible in perpetuating stereotypes of Italian and Black people (and others, I’m sure) but I also see this happening in way too many things on Fox News and many conservative ideals of people I know who seem to be out of touch with culture in a way that is damaging to children. It scares me because I think it will be harder to break these racial barriers down. It’s something worth investigating when talking to children because I think their view of how they’ve been shaped is the key to better conversations about race.

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

Yesterday I went to the Tara set and met some wonderful people. I got to see how they shoot and watch the monitors and listen with the headphones. I sat by the writers and chatted and joked around. My first time ever on a set, and I think I nailed it.

For example, Toni Collette (I adore her!) (Super talented!) came to shake my hand right after I wiped my nose with my fingers and then wiped them down the side of my jeans. I turned around to meet John Corbett just as I was hiking my bra strap back up my shoulder. He does seem to be one of the nicest guys ever. When I was introduced to Keir Gilchrist, I was just coming out of one of those surreal moments where you can’t believe you are really where you are, doing what you’re doing. So, I was kind of staring off into space for a sec, jumped when I realized he was right there and then shook his hand very enthusiastically. Which, he loved just like any other 18ish guy would.

I was around Brie Larson (Used to be a pop star! How cute is she with the french fries and shit!) the most. She was joking around with some of the most awesome writers to ever grace the earth, Brett and Dave, and I was in a nearby directors chair, surreptitiously listening and trying to appear like I was busy with something on my phone. Which I was not. Because my battery was almost dead. So, I’m just sitting there, half turned their way and randomly clicking buttons on the phone’s keypad, which is CLOSED. And then I thought to myself – this is pathetic. And it was. I put my phone in my pocket and turned more their way and started interjecting laughter and smiles at what I hoped was appropriate timing. Ha ha ha! You know the scene in 16 Candles where Anthony Michael Hall’s character is sitting on the bleachers at the dance trying to start up a conversation with Molly Ringwald’s character? Ya, kinda like that. The three of them were so witty, I had no hope of keeping up. So, instead I blurted, ‘I love your tattoos!’ to Dave in the middle of their dialog regarding a Craigslist murderer. It went really smooth. You should know that this little incident is not their fault at all. They were very, very nice to me. I just happen to be a dork sometimes.

I also met Rosemarie DeWitt, who was beautiful, very nice and friendly. She was recently in the movie Rachael Getting Married. (LOVED it. Very good flick.) With her was Ron Livingston and I had to actually bite my lip from leaning over and whispering in his ear, ‘I hate my job and I’m not going to do it anymore.’ in my very best Peter Gibbons‘ impression. Or, ‘Uuumm, yaaaa. Peter. I’m going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in this weekend.’ Both, hysterical. To me. I’m sure he’s never had anyone do that before.

At one point, I went next door to do an interview they filmed to use in the season 2 promos and on the Tara website. I was a little nervous at first, but everyone there made me feel so comfortable, it went fine. I said Um a lot and kept checking the ceiling to my left after every question, apparently waiting for the answer to float down softly like snow. Which, could happen on a set. Look for that, friends. I’m adding awesome interviewee to my repertoire.

The director of the interview wanted to shoot some B roll footage to cut to during the times when my talking head gets boring to look at in the editing room. They told me to not look at the camera and just keep doing what I ‘normally’ do. Hm. So, I stared at the screens and looked at some footage. Then, I held the headphones to my ears and stared even harder at the screen, accompanied by a small but distinct furrowed brow, showing real concentration which almost burned a hole on screen one. After about 6 solid minutes of that excitement, the director asked me to talk to the writers and do some pointing, which the writers were very good sports about. The dialog for that conversation went something like this –

Me – Um.
Brett – Now let’s look at this page in the script. See where she says, ‘Can I?’
Me – Now I’m pointing, too. Yes. Pointing right there.
Brett – Let’s turn to this other page and see where I’m pointing?
Me – Yes, I see that. Right here?
Director – More Pointing!
Me – Oh, look. Look at the screen!
*I point furiously, from screen to screen then back to script, sweat forming on my neck and glistening on my forehead.*
Brett – Yes, I really see you pointing now. You’re pointing at the screen and now at the script.
*My arm is stuck in some kind of pointing pattern up and down and up and down.*
Director – -sigh-
Cameraman – I guess there is a reason you guys are writers and not actors.

And, scene.

The thing I noticed when meeting everyone on set, and this goes for meeting anyone anywhere for the first time that knows I’m MPD, is that they say hello a little cautiously, with some curiosity in their eyes. They study me for just a second or two, trying to decide if I’m an ACTUAL crazy person about to do ACTUAL crazy things or if I’m mostly tame. I enjoy that moment immensely. And one of these days, I tell ya, I’m gonna do something completely bizarre after shaking their hand, like start ticking my head to the right repeatedly and saying, ‘Not NOW, Satan. Not NOW!’ I’ll wait til I meet Steven Spielberg to use that one.

Interview, Josh Bazell, Beat the Reaper

Catch Josh at Book Soup this Thursday, 3/26/2009 at 7:00 pm!

Hitman Pietro Brwna enters the Witness Protection Program and becomes Peter Brown, an emergency room doctor. A Mafia associate from his past ends up in the hospital on his shift and turns his entire protected life upside down. Packed with medical information and footnotes, the story of Peter’s past and the story of his present intersect beautifully during his last 8 hours at the hospital. Beat the Reaper is Josh Bazell’s first novel.


First, I should tell you that I was completely surprised at how much I liked Beat the Reaper. I’m not much for thriller/action-type novels, but, seriously, from about page two I was completely hooked. And although the ending was one of the most disgusting and painful endings I’ve ever read, I enjoyed it and I will never forget it. That’s what you’re looking for in a good book, eh?

Josh Bazell has a unique writing voice that reminds you of an old, gritty 40s detective movie. Some scenes get to the point so quick with limited dialog that you are taken off guard (and maybe disappointed they didn’t linger longer…) and some have a twist and you can’t believe you just read what you read. But, in all cases, Josh made the right decision on how he worked the story and I’m eagerly looking forward to the second installment of Pietro Brwna’s story.

Josh Bazell came to San Francisco for the hospitals about three years ago. (Did I forget to mention he’s also a doctor?) He’s single (ahem) except for his Boston terrier, Lottie. On the average day you’ll find him sitting around in a Tshirt and doing all the usual human stuff like drink beer, speed race and herb window box gardening (I may have made those last two up) and listening to “America,” by Spinal Tap; a demo version of “Birthday,” by the Sugarcubes; “Wrecking Ball” by Emmylou Harris; and “Gypsy Eyes,” by Hendrix.

How much of you is in Pietro? What’s your favorite characteristic of his?

What I like most about Pietro is that he’s always looking for ways to be moral that don’t require innocence. I’d like to think I do that too, but I definitely don’t put as much energy into it as he does.

Sex can be a difficult thing for people to write well and not indulge into porno-land. Was it hard for you to write the sex scenes?

I didn’t really think about it. I grew up on books like Jaws, that had tons of sex in them. So to me it would feel unnatural to write an entire novel in which the characters don’t think about or have sex, or they do but I can’t be bothered to mention it. Granted, asexuality (or rather the confinement of sex in fiction to pornography) is the trend. Remember when young adult fiction meant Judy Blume and Lois Duncan, and was read by kids? Someone should write a young adult novel called I Am Disappointed In and Afraid Of Sex, so that adults who read young adult fiction in public won’t have to worry about people not getting the message.

Part of the book is set in Russia. Have you been to Russia? Is it in your family roots?

Some of my ancestors were from there. I’ve never been. Russian history reminds me of the alleged Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” I’m hoping to get a chance to visit when Beat the Reaper comes out there.

Who is your target audience with Beat the Reaper? What kind of response have you received?

I try to spend as little time as possible thinking along these lines, but I tend to feel that people’s responses to books are so personal and idiosyncratic that pretty much anyone who reads Beat the Reaper deserves my appreciation. If they’re entertained by it and/or can relate to it, obviously that’s a good thing, but if they loathe it that’s strangely entertaining as well. I don’t know why. It’s infantile.

How did you do research for the Hitman part of the story?

I read every memoir I could find by people who have been through the Federal Witness Relocation Program. There are a lot of them, and they’re difficult to read because they’re poorly written and often morally repellent. But if you’re looking for sordid, they’ll give you sordid.


Did you learn anything at Brown that has become invaluable in your writing?

My attitude toward my writing education at Brown varies. I read a lot of books there and got time to write, and I met people who took literature seriously. On the other hand, the writing workshops I took there never discussed structure, or any other concern beyond the “quality of prose” on the page. And there were no classes at all on long-form writing, which is what I’ve always been interested in. Since structural rules are easier to learn than style, and since the idea of structure has been so tarnished by bad screenwriting instruction, I understand not spending a lot of class time on it. But some would have been nice.

The business side of health care you describe is almost too hard to read and sickening. How much of that is the truth from your experience and how much has been fictionalized? If you were God, (I’m not saying you aren’t) what would you do to change things?

Clearly the U.S. healthcare system is in trouble, since it’s crazily expensive and primarily serves the interests of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and (to a smaller but real degree) personal industry industries.

Just as clearly, to fix it (and a lot of other things) we probably need for legislators to not take money from the industries they’re supposed to regulate. Tom Daschle was taking more money from for-profit “health care” corporations than he would have made working 60 hours a week as a general practitioner. And if he hadn’t cheated on his taxes he would now be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Is the part in the book about the Auschwitz connection to Aventis, Agfa, BASF, and Bayer actually true? If it is true, I feel so dirty.

It is true: check it out here.

What impresses me about these companies is their foresight in predicting how quickly world anti-Semitism would rebound after WWII, and how easily they could therefore sell an image of the Holocaust as exaggerated and excessively talked about. Worldwide, this is now the popular consensus, though it’s losing ground to feelings (and statements) that the Holocaust never happened at all, or else did but was justified.

I loved and hated the character Skinflint about equally. You’ve written him in a way that defies someone to not feel compassion for him. How do you feel about him?

It’s pretty much a hate the sin and love the sinner situation. How can you hate someone too weak to fight his instincts?

The theme of the book is about a person being able to change and getting redemption. Have you experienced that in your own life?

Most people I know spend a lot of time either wanting or trying to change themselves. So yeah — I think most of us like the idea of redemption, and don’t seem to mind the judgment it passes on the lives we’re living now. It’s the tension between satisfaction and ambition.

I was annoyed that the footnotes were there and then I was annoyed that I kept wanting to read what they were and I enjoyed every annoying minute of it. As a writer myself, it seemed like a tricky thing to get right, a kind of hook that you gambled on that paid back in a big way. Were you worried about using them?

Yeah, the footnotes. The idea for them came from formatting the novel almost as an “as told to” memoir. And they turned out to be surprisingly useful, since they represent a subtly different voice (and timeframe) from the central narrator. But they were never necessary. It would have been easy to put the information in them, such as it is, in the text, and I was prepared to do that if either my agent or my editor felt strongly that I should. But they both liked the footnotes, and now I’m stuck using them in my next book because so many people have complained about them. By the way, one of them is intentionally irritating so that you’ll remember the information in it later, and all of them are skippable. (Ed. Note: But, you won’t want to.)

Whose writing style to you love to read?josh

James Ellroy, Joyce Carol Oates, Denis Johnson, Thom Jones. Anybody whose work is really alive.

Any book(s) to recommend?

I almost never do that, because, like I say, books seem so personal. It’s like universally recommending a particular girlfriend or something. I did just read Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich, which is about how woodland animals survive winter, and I really liked it. It’s observational biology in the style of Konrad Lorenz. It’s beautiful, and it makes you feel like you just spent a weekend in the country.

If you are 80 and living your dream life, what is it?

I really need to nail that down. It’s probably really helpful.

What interview question(s) are you so tired of answering and how many did I ask you?

The really bad ones only come from people who haven’t read the book. They’re all variations on “I haven’t read the book I’m interviewing you about. Please relieve my anxiety and embarrassment about that, and also entertain me.”

Thanks, Josh!

Try Handmade

Have you seen Try Handmade? It is only one of the most darling sites out there in the world wide web. They highlight items from different people that make handmade goods. And the best part? They’ve asked me to do interviews for them.

The first one with Kitty Empire is up today. Go check it out!

LA Metblogs Interview (Two Things)

David Markland from did a fun email interview with me the other day about my involvement with Tara. You can read it here.

There is something about this Neil Patrick Harris site that is really, really funny to me. (Nato, don’t click that link. Liberal use of the F word ahoy.) If you don’t mind salty language, this is one of my favorites. And this one, too (because I hate that word and that somehow makes it hilarious). This one? Makes my brain explode.