April 23, 2005
Creative Nonfiction Panel -
Saturday morning, I received one of the last tickets for the creative nonfiction panel, consisting of authors Patricia Hampl, Michael Dirda, Ann Patchett, Mark Salzman and Joe Lelyveld.
Listening to these well spoken, interesting and witty authors was so inspiring and informative that an audience member even asked the panel, "Do you find writing to be a form of therapy, because you all seem so incredibly healthy and articulate?" True. All of them spoke only pithy, pertinent pearls of wisdom (Oh, I love alliteration!) worthy of wrapping quotes around...but of course, I arrived without a pen.
Bullwinkle's Rocky -
After getting some spicy tuna rolls with extra wasabi and chopsticks, I sat down for lunch on a lawn right next to the stage where June Foray (the voice of Rocky the Squirrel from "Rocky And Bullwinkle" - one of my favorite cartoons, along with "Fractured Fairy Tales") was answering children's questions. One older boy asked, in his best booming Bullwinkle impersonation, "Were you also the voice of Natasha?" to which Ms. Foray responded, "Excuse me?" Then, after hearing the question clearly, she let loose with her deep Russian Natasha voice, "Must get squirrel, Dahlink."
Authors I Met & Books I Bought -
I then walked the campus investigating the different booths, and found Angel City Press's booth, full of California and L.A. related books, where I picked up a copy of "Curbside L.A." by Cecilia Rasmussen.
Next, I bought "Wild L.A.: A Day Hiker's Guide" by John McKinney - a book composed entirely of L.A. County specific hikes, which I'm really excited about since I tend to stick to my usual walking areas: Solstice Canyon, Malibu Creek Park and Stoney Point, to name a few. In the book the author included the distances of each hike, clear details on which directions to take, as well as some great history about each area. (The author, John McKinney, in photo signing my book.)
Then I made a fool out of myself when I saw Marcia Wallace, an actress from one of my favorite shows as a kid, "The Bob Newhart Show," at a book signing table. I asked if I could buy one of her books... Duh! But, in my defense, I was a little flummoxed by seeing someone I grew up watching on T.V. Ms. Wallace was so sweet, she and her equally lovely friend, Carol Wood - writer and webmaster, somehow ended up asking me about my daughter and if I write, and I, of course, was only to happy to answer. But once I left, I glanced down at the book cover of Marica Wallace's book "Don't Look Back We're Not Going That Way!" and read "How I overcame a rocky childhood, a nervous breakdown, breast cancer, widowhood, fat, fire and menopausal motherhood..." I wished I took time to ask her more about herself, rather than gush about the television show she was on decades ago. (Below right, Ms. Wallace having to wait for my camera's three second delay.)
Finally, I thought about attending the Carrie Fisher interview with Sandra Tsing Loh, but then decided to listen to Laurie Notaro read from her new book "We Thought You Would Be Prettier." The self-named "dorkiest girl alive" (Laurie, I can relate!) had the audience howling, while simultaneously dealing with the wind knocking over her book display sign and reading aloud how she resorted to flipping off an 8-year-old summer camp kid at her YMCA. (Laurie Notaro, below)