ThisÂ morning, I received the sad news that Alexander Taylor, cofounder of Curbstone Press, passed away last night,Â Thursday, December 20th.
I met Sandy while I was working for Cinco Puntos Press. Like anybody who met Sandy, I took to him instantly. I liked his jokes, his irreverence, his story-telling, his commitment to literature, his love of life.Â Â If you had taken my Cerling grandfather and turned him into a liberal who wasn’t particularly religious (if at all), you would have gotten Sandy: a storyteller, a man who liked to snicker, a man who was always ready to laugh, a man with hundreds and thousands of friends.Â And let’s admit it–Sandy had great taste.Â As a result, Curbstone books are someÂ of the best booksÂ being published today. He was a true friend to literature, all kinds of literature from around the world. In the last few years, Sandy was personallyÂ very kind to me. He frequently gave me generous amounts of his time whenever I had questions about how to run a small, independent press.Â Â Always accessible, always working, always joking.
He will be sorely missed from coast to coast and around the world.
Hi, everybody, I probably won’t post for a couple of weeks since I’m leaving for El Paso tomorrow and then going to Seattle and Vancouver for a much needed vacation. Wow, did I actually say the words? I’ve travelled a lot in recent years but I’m not sure whenÂ my last “vacation” was–probably Europe a few years back.Â So merry Christmas all and a happy New Year!
For all you folks who don’t know, today is La Dia de Virgen de Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Happy Virgin Day!
Last week, I sent a bunch of my students to different literary events around the Bay Area–mostly readings, but a few plays–and had them write about the experience. Okay, granted, that’s probably cruel and unusual punishment. But their papers have some funny-ass stuff in them and I’ve been giggling my way all the way through the grading. Why? Because they are so freaking right about their assessment of the frequently snobbish literary world.
To begin with, not a single student (out of 18 students) felt comfortable in the experience.Â Most felt too young and awkward;Â some felt underdressed or not dressed artsy enough ; some of them felt too straight; some of them were creeped out by the lady dressed all in black who glided across the floor to fiddle with the microphone on the podium before the author took center stage; and none of them expected the booze they were served.Â I’m glad to report, however, that one of my students whoÂ didn’t expect or accept wine at the swanky place he accidentally stumbled into was glad that he “happened” to have Tecate hidden in his jacket.Â (I wonder, though: did he have limes?)
But the best of all, the best statement of all, was the one where the student admittedÂ thatÂ the reading he attendedÂ might have been allright if they hadn’t been trying to pimp the book so hard. Yep. That’s what he said. And he is sooooo very right. Way to tell ‘em straight, cowboy.Â
I was thinking earlier this week that moving to Oakland might not be so bad, since I was contacted by a real estate company that sells affordable housing to people who don’t make millions of bucks in the Bay Area. I definitely fit that category and the deals seemed decent. Oakland can’t be that bad, I thought, despite all the rumors that fly around in the Bay Area. Well, today I read this article in the San Francisco Chronicle and learned that there have been over 500 murders in Oakland in the last 5 years, making it the 2nd most dangerous city in California, after Compton. So maybe we won’t be looking into those properties after all. San Bruno ain’t the safest block in the Bay Area–but at least I feel safe walking down the street.
Great little storyÂ about this picture here from blogger Rob.
I didn’t know The King’s English Bookstore in Salt Lake City had a blog but they do,Â butÂ they did a greatÂ posting for my recent visit which, of course (if you know me), was awash in sex, scandal, and greed. Ha! Okay, I’m not that controversial. But I guessÂ The Confessional is…
I had my first ever writer’s anxiety dream last night. I was set to speak at what I thought was a librarian’s house, although her house turned out to be this old abandoned warehouse plus old falling-down house, the kind of scene you might expect Hostel II or Saw V to be filmed at. The kind of place that, in most dreams, I’d be invited to “speak” for a crowd, then slowly dismembered while the audience cheered. Read More