Sunday, September 20, 2009

Like Fire

When Readerville closed up shop last June, right away I started thinking about putting together my own literary blog. It had been a great roller coaster ride -- staying on top of every shred of book and publishing news, scrolling through my endless feeds and waiting for that excellent click that happened when I came upon an item I knew I'd have something to say about. Writing every day was good for me, having the opportunity to follow my opinions where they led and whittle them down to something articulate. Mostly it was fun.

So I dug deep into my inner Andy Hardy and spent the summer tinkering in that virtual barn out back. And finally -- Hey Kids! -- I'm putting up my own show.
Like Fire is a collaborative effort with some fellow Readerville alumni which will hopefully go on to amuse and delight and inform all our friends and fans. Another litblog, yes, but hopefully full enough of content and opinion to have its own flavor. We also take submissions, so if you have something related to books or the industry, please send it along to

I won't abandon Mappa Mundi, though, I promise. I'm way too fond of it -- and where else am I going to post all those pet photos?

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I had lunch with Pat, my one and only work friend, yesterday. This week marks three years I've been at the workplace, and that's all I'm going to say about that right now. If I've learned only one thing there -- and I have to wonder sometimes if this might not in fact be the case -- it's that you don't sit up front in Tom's during the first week of school unless you want to eat your sandwich with someone's mom and dad mugging on the other side of the window while their embarrassed kid takes pictures. It's like the most famous landmark in New York City for a week, and the folks are lined up three deep to get their photo snapped on the sidewalk.
Pat and I had a nice lunch as far in the back as we could get seats, and then dawdled along in the sun, looking at books for sale on the street. Right off I gravitated to a hardcover copy of Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings -- I'd seen it on the guy's table before and thought it was something I'd like, but never picked it up. I find I'm a little more adventurous when I'm browsing with someone else, though, especially if we're trying to kill some time. So I opened it and there, on the flyleaf, was this:
"How much?" I asked.

"Four dollars," he said.

I had a pang of guilt. It didn't last long. In 25+ years of buying secondhand books, I've never found any buried treasure, not once. This felt like the universe patting me indulgently on the back of the hand -- "That's nice, dear" -- but right around now I could use a little babying from the powers that be.

I Googled the signature when I got back to the office and yes, it's hers. The book's not a first -- more like a tenth -- and while it might have netted the guy a bit more than $4 it wouldn't have made him rich. On the other hand, it made me very rich indeed. On a day that was hard in need of a ray of sunshine, a $4 copy of One Writer's Beginnings with Eudora Welty's handwriting in the front -- "Jackson, Missippi / March 23, 1984" -- was just fine.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Wow, I really went the whole month of August without blogging once? That's pretty flimsy. I've got some other projects up my sleeve and a lot going on but still, not to the exclusion of everything else in life. I've just been going through a little radio silence phase, I guess, and apologies to everyone I owe email. Let's just think of it as a fallow period, a bit of mental crop rotation so the soil of my psyche can replenish. Or some such compost-worthy shit.

More later. Bed calls ever earlier. But to tide you over, here's a nice picture of three of the four cute furry animals who live here getting cozy on the world's skankiest dog bed.

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