Loving Laurie Colwin

During this season of gleeful wanton gluttony, in between gorging on deep-fried turkey and deep-fried Milky Ways (Is there anything deep-fried that doesn’t taste good? Hmmm…no) I’ll be re-reading one of my favorite, favorite, favorite writers: Laurie Colwin.

Laurie Colwin wrote about food and love and domesticity, about joyful misanthropes, levelheaded adulterers, and happy depressives—all in a way that’s both hysterically funny and deeply true. To sit alone at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, reading her books, is my idea of perfect contentment.

I recently published a piece in the “Recommendations” column of Post Road about her. She died in 1992 at the age of 48…. it makes me unspeakably sad to think that there will be no more books by her. If you’ve never read Laurie Colwin, here are a few titles to start with:

Happy All the Time (a novel)
Another Marvelous Thing (a novel in stories)
Passion and Affect (short stories)
Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (essays)

Her short story “An Old-Fashioned Story” was adapted into a film called “Ask Me Again,” which was broadcast on PBS on American Playhouse, and is only available now on obscure VHS tapes at public libraries. If your library has it, you must see it. I’m going to make my sister watch it with me again this weekend, as we recuperate on the couch from all our pigging out.

Our Secret Society

Our (not-so-secret-anymore) Delacorte Dames & Dude Society is featured in Publisher’s Weekly!

Here are a few outtakes from our photo session.

Shana Burg, me, Varian Johnson, April Lurie, and Jenny Ziegler hanging out outside Bookpeople:

Crouching behind bushes, hiding from elitist adult authors with snobby attitudes about YA:

Inside Bookpeople, scandalously reading banned books:

Texas Book Festival photos

The Festival was so much fun. Here’s the pictorial recap.

Me and Jennifer Ziegler at the children’s authors’ party:

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, Melissa de la Cruz, me, and Paula Yoo at the Not for Required Reading event:

Martin Wilson, Michael Harmon, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Shannon Hale, Varian Johnson, Sheila Moses, and Travis Nichols at Not for Required Reading:

The Violet Crown and Teddy Book Award winners:

(Does the National Book Award give you a teddy bear with the trophy? I think not.)

More photos are on Galleycat and Paula Yoo’s blog.

President Obama

I still can’t believe I get to write the words President Obama.

I’m just as thrilled that Michelle will be in the White House alongside him, and that my daughter will get to watch Sasha and Malia grow up in the White House, while she grows up too.

Check out these pictures of the Obama family taken by Callie Shell—be sure to click on the “Show More Images” tab on the bottom to see all of them. My favorites are of them snuggling on the campaign bus, and Barack cleaning up crumbs after a stop in a diner.

Of course any discussion of the President and First Lady isn’t complete without a mention of fashion. Or lack thereof. Those photos that People ran of him with his shirt off? That secured my vote very early on.

Then there’s Michelle’s election night dress. Hmmm….I wasn’t over the moon about it, though I love that she’s daring and not sticking with pantsuits (gag) and everpresent pearls (blech.) Here are some of her fashion choices. My favorite is the classic trench paired with high-heeled boots, which is a perfect uniform for all us girls trying to save the world.

(As a side note, I have to point out that my Election Boyfriend called the final results almost PERFECTLY. I will love him always.)

Do it for Susan, Elizabeth, and Ida

Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray asked me to participate in Blog the Vote, which is uniting bloggers across the web to celebrate voting, and to write nonpartisan posts about why we vote and what it means to us.

I voted early last week, and stepping into the voting booth, I had a quiver in my belly. Voting isn’t just a duty and a right…it’s a thrill.

Voting is thrilling, because for women, the right to vote is a recent phenomenon, one that we should never take for granted.

In America, it’s only been 88 years that women have had the right. (Women in the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, Poland, Germany, Australia, Finland, Norway, and Czechoslovakia all won the right to vote before we did.)

In case you’re a little rusty on your women’s suffrage history, go rent Ken Burns’ excellent documentary, Not for Ourselves Alone, and read the companion book. In the book, Ellen Carol DuBois writes about the suffragettes:

“Will we forget these women again? There is that danger. When feminist vitctories are won, we get used to them very quickly. It is as if women had always been educated, always voted, always had the right to expect equality in the labor force, always had the right to expect equality in their family lives. But the truth is that each of these rights was fought for long and hard…”

Though Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Suffrage Association in 1869, neither lived to see the amendment passed or to vote themselves.

Ida B. Wells fought for women’s suffrage and fought against the racism in the women’s suffrage movement. (If you haven’t heard of Wells, read her autobiography, Crusade for Justice, or Paula Giddings’ new biography. When Wells was 21, she refused to give up her seat on a railroad car, and bit the conductor who tried to remove her—then sued the railroad and won. This was 70 years before Rosa Parks.) A story about Ida is told in Not for Ourselves Alone:

“In 1913, when Wells attended the National American Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., she was told she could not march with other suffragists from Illinois for fear of alienating white southerners. Blacks were expected to march together at the end of the parade. Wells would have none of it; she waited on the sidewalk until the Illinois delegation came into view, then slipped between two white women and marched with them up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol.”

On November 2, 1920, for the first time in history, eight million women went to the polls in America. In 2004, over 67 million women voted—almost 10 million more women than men. In 2008, I hope the numbers are even higher. I’m proud—and thrilled—to be part of the legacy that Ida, Susan, and Elizabeth fought so hard for.

Visit Chasing Ray for a full list of Blog the Vote posts.