Friday, September 22, 2006

Get Along Little DOG

(NOTE: What happens next is anyone’s guess. Write a book? Easy. Sell a book? Be nice to everyone you meet and light candles in the church of your choice. Bombast and humility swirl around each other, much like the competing flavors in a quart of Dreyer’s Root Beer Float ice cream, though with fewer chemical additives. Am I a licensed action figure yet?)

The trip to the San Francisco International Airport on September 11 takes as long as the flight to Los Angeles when the airplane is on time. Rebecca Woolf meets me in pink muslin Bohemian skirt flapping from her rush down the escalator. We talk and e-mail but haven’t traded hugs since she married Hal and gave birth to Archer Sage, her son. Gleeful chattering continues in her mom-wagon as she follows the speed limit into Los Angeles.

To hate a city is dumb and I have insulted, bad-mouthed, and otherwise pooh-poohed Los Angeles. Has this hurt the city’s feelings? Nope, and neither would loving on account of the city is a grid of lights and buildings not given to emotional complaints. This time I am coming to Los Angeles as a writer and teaching at the Learning Annex, much different from being stuck in a godawful motel south of the LA Convention Center and listening to nasty drug deals in the night. Rebecca is my guide and we exit the freeway to tour the streets. There is Grauman’s Chinese Theater waiting for the next big premier and the Walk of the Stars less brilliant and cleaner than should be. We steer La Cienaga and Ventura Boulevards, the goofy crush of traffic under the unhindered sun. What pulls my leaking attention span are the trees: coral trees on San Vicente Boulevard, the Mexican fan palms (Washingtonia robusta), slender as an anorexic model along Sunset Boulevard, and Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) protecting the property values in Beverly Hills. The palms are choking on exhaust caused from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hummer Enthusiasts Club and plans are being tossed around City Hall to replace the palms with oaks. At a cost of $20,000 per replanting, many Angelenos are trading up to hybrids.

The class is on San Vincente Boulevard, and the students are one memoir writer and four Hispanic women who want to tell their stories instead of mope around with empty-nest syndrome after their children have left home. Rebecca, her friend Lauren, and Bo Lebo are my ringers and the three-hour class speeds by. Two books are sold from the straining satchel I carried, and this is the beginning. Building the audience for any book takes patience, and thanks to a prescription for Zoloft, I have plenty.

After two days, I am ready to go home and face the deadlines for different editing jobs I have been avoiding. Rebecca drives me to the airport with Archer strapped in the back seat and we make promises to do this again real soon. Why not? LA, for its pretensions of being cool, is cool. Further proof is Dutton’s Brentwood Bookstore. The kind folks there have ordered and now carry THE DOG in the reference section. Stop by and pay full retail at: 11975 San Vicente Boulevard, (310) 476-6263, or log on at


Okay, the Learning Annex class in San Francisco for September 21 was postponed. This was due to sunspots and hassle of Mercury being retrograde. We’ll try again when the stars have shifted, and soon.

The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association has their annual convention at the Oakland Convention Center/Oakland City Marriott from October 6 to 8. Booksellers troll the aisles looking for the fall season’s breakout bestseller, and trade gossip (professional only, not personal). I will be signing copies of THE DOG at noon on Sunday, the 8th, and likely be at the Cypress House booth, number 22 at table G, all day Saturday on account of I like the show.

After burning rubber north and south, and east and west of these United States, the mobile Beat Museum has found a home in San Francisco’s North Beach. The grand opening of the museum is Wednesday, September 27, at 7 PM. Michael McClure will there, with Al Hinkle (fictionalized as big Ed Dunkel in Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD), Magda Cregg (partner of poet Lew Welch), Wavy Gravy, John Allen Cassady (son of Neal and Carolyn Cassady), Jack Hirschman (Poet Laureate of San Francisco), and an artist exhibition and appearance by Stanley Mouse.

On Thursday, October 19 (fifty-one years and twelve days after the Six Gallery reading) at 7 PM, the Beat Museum will host a signing for THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET: AN OUTSPOKEN GUIDE FOR WRITERS WHO WANT TO PUBLISH ($13.95, paperback, ISBN: 978-1-879384-66-8). The culmination of any American boy writer’s dream is to sign his book in North Beach. Many thanks to Jerry Cimino for the invitation, and his energetic advocating of all things beat.

540 Broadway (near Columbus)
San Francisco, CA 94133

Special thanks go to Rebecca Woolf (have I mentioned your name enough?) for the new, improved blog. She put in the cover graphic, handled the links, and did a whole lot of other stuff. You are cooler than cool.

NEXT: Thrills, Chills, and Leash-Training


Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

If what you say is true than you are cooler than cooler than cool. I had such fun with you and cannot WAIT to do it again soon. Peasant skirt and all. :)

10:44 PM  
Blogger Sal Glynn said...

There is a nobility in being cool and also a dandy book idea about the nobility of being cool. You do the writing and we'll split the royalties fifty-fifty.

2:05 PM  

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