My Mentors


Boldtype had a great feature last week on famous literary mentorships. Coincidentally, I talked about my literary mentors a bit in my This Week in Books interview. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so, as many of my interviews focus instead on deep things such as what happened to all that jewelry I got.

I’m fortunate enough to have had two incredible writers take me under their wings- Leonard Chang and Jim Krusoe, both of whom I met at my MFA program. In case you’re unfamiliar with the parlance of graduate programs, teachers are often called “mentors.” Of course, in the proper sense of the word it would be impossible for a teacher at such a program to truly mentor all of his or her students. For instance, I’ve had “mentors” look at my work and say things like, “Wow, your writing sure loses its magic in the revisions.” Believe me, I could go on about how very uninterested some of my MFA mentors were in mentoring me. And that’s as it should be. Not everyone’s going to believe in your work.

True mentorship is a rare and precious thing and I wouldn’t be the writer I am without my guiding spirits. My gratitude to them goes far beyond that which I could express on an acknowledgement page. For this reason, I really enjoyed the Boldtype feature.

You’ll Never Believe the Girl My Son Brought Home


I have an article on Parentdish today about Tariku’s obsession with Lady Gaga. As some of you may recognize, this essay is one that I wrote quite a while ago during a bleary midnight moment. I’m happy to report that we have way, way less of those moments these days. I actually had to drag T out of bed this morning in order to get him dressed for gymnastics. All the while he was hanging onto the pillow and demanding more snuggles. It was bliss.

Also defunct are those laundry loads of cloth diapers. Ah well. I tried.

Furthermore….he’s moved on to Neko Case. But I do sometimes wonder about his first love and whether or not she inspired his enduring fascination with exposed legs.

Anyway, read it here and leave comments about how totally funny and awesome I am. They’ll act as a counterbalance for the ones that will surely point out what a neglectful monster I am for allowing my son to watch music videos.

Sad Foot


I used to live down the street from this rotating happy foot/sad foot sign and I was extremely superstitious about it. I would only drive by it if the happy foot was facing the street. I would literally slow way, way down in the middle of Sunset Blvd. to avoid the bad luck that I was certain the sad foot would bring (just look at it).

Apparently I wasn’t the only one, because when the sign broke down, sad foot facing out, it made the local paper. Maybe I got cocky and drove by it, because I now have a sad foot. A positively melancholy foot. Maybe even a foot suffering from major depressive disorder.

I partially tore my plantar fascia while running and as a result I’ve been pretty much benched for over a month. I’m just starting to be able to walk without pain. As the weeks pass, my L.A. Marathon goal looks more and more unlikely. I can and will shoot for another marathon later in the year, but it’s still a huge disappointment and a major endorphin crash.

Accepting failure, moving on, setting new goals…not exactly my strong suits. I’m more inclined toward wallowing in self-pity, getting strung out on TV and overeating. But even chocolate almonds, Glee reruns and elastic waistbands get old after a while. I got up and did some yoga this morning. I took a gentle hike with Dylan a couple of days ago. But the pep has definitely gone out of my step and I recognize how much of a rigidly goal-oriented person I am. Maybe it’s not the best way to be. Maybe I should groove more with the process, but I think I’ll work with what I’ve got for now.

So…NY? We were in New York a couple of years ago during the marathon and I remember seeing the runners wearing their medals the next day and thinking that I wanted one. Just as soon as my foot cheers up, I’m going to get me one of those.

Tariku Recommends…

Neko Case is Tariku’s main squeeze these days. He asks to hear her album at breakfast; he asks for it in the car; he asks if she can come to the park and he cries when the answer is no. He insists that he’ll be gentle and share his airplanes if only she’ll come over and visit us.

I thought I’d share a video of her singing our favorite song live. It gives me goosebumps to the tips of my ears. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite as sweet and sad as an almost-three-year-old singing along with the line, “I’m so lonely and I wish I was the moon tonight.”

If you’re reading this on Facebook, watch the video at: