The A House of My Own Tour, Part 1
“Like the many adventures documented in my new book, I am documenting my life on this seven-week tour, and will try to keep you updated.”
October 11, 2015
I write from Houston after completing week one of my seven-week book tour. Oops, I meant to say: book celebration, because that's what it feels like. I'm out with my newest child — A House of My Own: Stories from My Life, which so far has been garnering lovely reviews.
I thought I would report nightly, but find myself too exhausted to write at night. Writing is hard work and requires me to be fully rested.
So instead, I'm trying to keep my readers posted of my meanderings. Tonight Houston is giving me a wonderful welcome, a sold-out event at a thousand-seat auditorium. Come to think of it, Houston always outdoes other Texas cities in welcoming me. Good for Houston for having such a literary town!
I have to bypass San Antonio because I'm saving myself for a Gemini Ink fundraiser in mid-March next year. So those of you from my other hometown, hold tight. I have not forgotten you.
Like the many adventures documented in my new book, I am documenting my life on this tour, and will try to keep you updated. Please check my calendar to see if I am coming to a town near you. As ever, I thank you for your support, loyalty, and testimonies.
In New York I got to reconnect with my old poetry buddy from my Iowa days, Paul Alexander, who has been busy writing biographies these last 20 years. He looks the same, except now his hair is an Andy Warhol white, but it’s very becoming. It was great to hear Paul's Alabama accent calling out my name. How did we lose one another for twenty years! Like Rip Van Winkles! Never again.
I got to see An American in Paris while I was in NYC, because recently in Chicago I met the choreographer Christopher Wheeldon of Dorset, England, Thomas Hardy country. What a fabulous talent he is! I'm so lucky I saw the play. It was divine, except for the seat I had which was way way up in the balcony next to the rail. I was terrified half the play, but put up with it. The dances, songs, and costumes were puro Broadway. Hurray and felicidades, Christopher!
Thanks to all the Knopf staff for this stunning book. I forgot to thank everyone at the 92nd Street Y event, so let me thank them all here: Robin Desser, for truly drawing these essays together thematically and pushing me to write the last one, my favorite, about Mexico. Her assistant Jennifer Kurdyla, who worked endlessly on this book with the kindness, patience and generosity of a midwife. To Gabrielle Brooks, whip-smart and sassy publicist. She is tireless. And her lovely assistant Katie Schoder who got me into the Amtrak station, went off to buy me a tea, and waited with me until the train arrived on a track. Talk about tender, loving, care! Thanks, Katie!
And mil gracias for Susan Bergholz, my other mom. What would I do without Susan? She and Bert took me to dinner at the famous Gotham Restaurant and encouraged me to eat bread and dessert and forget about my diet for one night. No regrets. Mil gracias.
Washington, DC: Went off to see my friends on my day off last Saturday. I don't know why, but I had the feeling my friends artists Renee Butler and Joe White were nearby, and even though they live in Adams-Morgan and I was in Dupont Circle, I just trusted my hunch. Sure enough, they were around the corner after being smoked out of their apartment for months. Pobrecitos. But they had a great space in a hotel with Kiki de Montparnasse, their Russian blue cat. No harm to them or Kiki, thank God, though Joe lost a great deal of his work. He laughed and told me funny stories about their trip to the Amazon back in the days when they still traveled. I've known Renee since our days together in the south of France. I told her how she mentored me back then, which she didn't realize then.
Then I checked out of Dupont Circle hotel and went to live with my friend Nancy Mirabal, ex-grad student and now a professor. Nancy is a Macondo writer. It was great to see her and to have another Macondo writer join us: Macarena Hernandez who was in town visiting a friend. It was a mini Macondo gathering, and even though I was exhausted, once I washed my hair and hugged Nancy's dog Finn, all was right with the world.
I met Jeff Brown from PBS's News Hour. He has beautiful eyes like polished Egyptian sea glass. He brought to my attention that I must not speak with my eyes closed when I'm interviewed. I had no idea I did this!
Gustavo Morales-Cirion of the Mexican Cultural Institute hosted the interview and proudly allowed us to view the institute's treasures. I was swept away by a Spratling Silver show that featured photo of Inuit craftsmen meeting their Mexican counterparts. The resemblance was astonishing. Also saw an exhibit of photos by Monica Guerrero Mouret; seeing a show dedicated to pilgrimages to la virgen de Guadalupe made me happy.
My excellent author escort Paul Borchers whisked me around DC and got me to NPR, where Sara Peralta gathered a boardroom table of NPR folks for the Sermon According to Sandra. I had a blast. Special treat was meeting Felix Contreras who has hosted me in the past on his show, where I even got to be deejay! Talk about thrills and laughs!
At DC Reagan airport I was astonished to find healthy food at Cava. You pick your grain—brown rice, basmati rice, or another choice I cannot for the life of me remember, your protein, and your veggies, which included grilled mixed veggies and toppings like quinoa and feta cheese. I chose lamb, brown rice, arugula, and all of the toppings. It was superb and served as a portion big enough for lunch and supper. Wish there were Cava restaurants in every airport. Smart and healthy fare.