Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Famous Potatoes, the podcast, is complete.

I've uploaded the final episode.

Famous Potatoes, the podcast, is complete.

I'll read a selection from it tomorrow at Lit Nite.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reading at Sullivan's Pub

Next Lit Nite will be this Wednesday, April 28 at Sullivan's Pub in La Honda.  As the poster says, Come listen.  Come read.  Newcomers welcome.  Our readers (and authors) range from 8th grade to 80 years old.  Last month's subjects ranged from goat raising to April foolishness to cancer death to the meaning of places to being stopped by cops while driving a yellow milk truck full of marijuana.  We heard poems, fiction, memoirs, essays and rants. We had 3 brand new readers plus a mix of old-timers.  We celebrated the launch of Diane Lee Moomey's new book Place: The Heart of the Dragon (Volume 1).

I admit I was skeptical about the idea of starting a Lit Nite, but now it's becoming a La Honda institution.  Come eat.  Come drink.  It's casual, it's friendly, it's touching and profound.  We share, we learn, we enjoy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring: Eggs

Wondering what will hatch...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring: Trillium and birth

In 1982 after a tough winter in La Honda - a winter of wild storms, landslides, road closures, endless rain, power outages, a tree crushing my neighbor's house - at last the rain stopped, the wind stopped, the roads opened, the power came back, the trillium bloomed, and my third child was born.

The trillium. I'd never noticed them before. Suddenly they were everywhere in the forest around us, exquisitely scented, deeply sensual, lovely. And 3 days after the trillium arrived, Barb went into labor. It was a home birth, but not at our home. The pregnancy had been complicated; we lived too far out in the boondocks; so when she went into labor we gathered at another house that was just a few minutes from Stanford Hospital should the need arise.

Fortunately, the birth went smoothly. Our two kids watched while Doctor Don, our hippie obstetrician, did his job. That's Doctor Don in front:

After the long winter, the difficult pregnancy, a healthy boy:

The two older kids - and you can never be sure this will happen - welcomed him to the house:

In my mind, every year when the trillium arrive, I think of birth.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring: Wild cukes

Wild cucumber grows like mad all over the La Honda watershed.
Appropriate to the name of the season, the shoots are coiled like springs and when they grab hold, they stay attached.Their flowers are fuzzy and white,or fuzzy and yellow,and attract bugs. Which is their job.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Redwoods and Wires

We live in a forest, but we're wired. This is Highway 84 taken in front of Apple Jack's.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reading at Sullivan's Pub

Last week we had our monthly "Lit Nite" at Sullivan's Pub, combining the best of beer and books. Or wine and poetry. To celebrate the launch of my podcast and ebook, Caroline Graham joined me to read a passage from Famous Potatoes.Caroline is the voice of Elaine on the podcast. Caroline is 15, younger than the Elaine character, but she's good at capturing the combination of tough and sweet in Elaine.If you're worried about a nice 15-year-old girl reading in a bar, rest assured that she was accompanied by her dad. Does he look like somebody you'd want to mess with?

Monday, April 5, 2010

To the little potatoes all over this planet

The Famous Potatoes podcast has been out for one week. So far I've uploaded 6 episodes. There will be 18 in all. Most people wait until all episodes have been uploaded before they begin listening, but some people enjoy the weekly serialization.

Already about a thousand people are listening. Mostly in the USA, but also 55 in England, 30 in China, 20 in Australia, 18 in Ireland, 15 in Germany, 14 in Finland, 10 in Switzerland, and a smattering in Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Israel, Brazil, Austria, Vietnam, Italy, Colombia, and one lone listener in New Zealand.

Vietnam. Holy crap! Brazil. Hello! I'm thrilled that you're listening to my little podcast.

I describe Famous Potatoes as "a cockeyed love letter to the USA" but it is actually a love letter to the little people all over this planet. I wonder what they make of me in Korea or Colombia. Do they see themselves? Do they see the USA in a new way? I'm a little person myself, supporting my family with a hammer and a plumber's wrench, unknown in the arched-eyebrow book world of Manhattan or academia and yet reaching people all over the world. I love it. I love podcasting. I love storytelling. I love the human voice.

Okay, I'll stop now. Sorry. I just had to say that.

A neighbor, by the way, didn't agree with the "cockeyed" description. He said Famous Potatoes was "a dog's-eye view of the world." Meaning, people as viewed from below by a butt-sniffing, dirt-digging, playful, funky, drooling author. Yep . Guilty as charged.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Edward Wong-Ligda

Edward Wong-Ligda deserves his own turn in the spotlight.
He's had a distinguished career as an illustrator, painter, and muralist.
I was lucky to find him for Famous Potatoes when he was just starting out.
He was living in a soon-to-be-demolished old farm building at the back of an orchard in Sunnyvale.
He told me, "You have to say exactly what you want me to draw because I don't have any imagination." Not true, of course. I couldn't show him any images of a dog killing a rattlesnake, but he drew this anyway:
Ed had a feel for highway americana
and foodand drinkalways in keeping with the earthy style of a book that was, of course, about that earthiest of subjects: potatoes.