Someone sent me an apologetic message about not being able to come to the readings...that's SILLY. Your support is appreciated every single day. Many of you already read my book, have come to trivia, or something else -- there's no obligation to come. I probably will have a new reading in March when my new book comes out. For anyone who does come, see ya there!
The Anonymous Blogger finds me quotable.
(*CORRECTED*) READINGS Saturday, Nov. 8
Readers: Caren Lissner, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Danyel Smith
Note that the order has changed...

2 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Park Slope
267 Seventh Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Upper West Side
2289 Broadway
NY, NY 10024
Tel: 212-721-5282

7:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Greenwich Village
396 Avenue of the Americas (cor. of 8th Street)
NY, NY 10011
Tel: 212-674-4679

Woke up, got dmsmflmmlsgmmmmcandycandycandy


Suggestion of the day: "You should come do a reading or two in Minneapolis. Sometime in the next few weeks would be ideal, as the temps have been dropping and we've had snow already. Awww, c'mon, dontcha LIKE cold and snow? Maybe we could arrange someone to cater in some nice lutefisk and a cream-of-mushroom-hotdish for the event."
I'm doing readings at three Barnes & Nobles in New York City next Saturday, Nov. 8, in conjunction with two other writers. The readings will be at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Actually, one of them is in Brooklyn. More info to come.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


For newcomers, I have a mainpage with info about my novel, as well as my second book coming out in March, reviews, etc. I say this because people putting my name into Google usually end up here first.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Several years ago, I was sitting in the newsroom at the paper I work for when a colleague who was reading the New York Times said, "An editor at the New Republic has been fired for making up stories!" I thought to myself, "Imagine if it was Steve Glass" since he was a year behind me in college and I had heard that he got a dreamjob at the New Republic not long after graduation. It turned out it was him.

At my college reunion, I assumed that my former Daily Pennsylvanian journalism colleagues would be keeping mum on it, out of respect for Steve, who'd been the top editor. Instead, I saw another former editor and the first thing he said to me was, "Did you hear about Steve Glass!?!?" So it was apparently something to be talked about.

I didn't know him too well, and I don't have much to offer to the discussion about him, but I did just read an interesting interview about how he sees the new movie about him. The interviewer keeps trying to find out if he's somewhat gay at one point, but doesn't come out and ask. She might as well have. You have to watch a Salon ad to read the full piece.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


A college friend writes: "Being a husband and a father now, I can see where there are a LOT of pitfalls that many marriages won't withstand - even those with 2 committed loving partners. Even among those who wait. Money, childbearing and child rearing attitudes...and all that baggage that each partner brings to the relationship, that have nothing to do with the person's partner. I'm surprised that the divorce rate isn't higher than it is. "

He also asked how I'm enjoying The Mailman by J. Robert Lennon. It's a great book. I'm finding that even though it's "literary," I'm reading every word, and often I tend to skim in other books. It usually takes a lot to hold my attention. So if you want a good read, pick it up.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


I just went to work to catch up on all the mail that collected in the week I was away. The most exciting thing was a press release entitled, "Does your dog have Alzheimer's?"
I am hearing very discouraging things about the practice of marriage lately. I was in a writing workshop today and read ten memoirs, and many of them involved people who seemed to have zero affection for their husbands or wives. And on Saturday, a guy told me the usual about how yeah, he and his wife had sex a lot the first year of marriage, but now they just fight a lot. I guess I just don't know enough about it, but it seems to me that it takes long enough to date, get engaged, and plan a wedding that you should know enough about the person you're marrying to be able to figure out if you respect them and care about them, besides being attracted to them. And then that should last at least a little while.

I know that dealing with the same person for years can be hard, but I guess I'm confused by the people who seem utterly uninterested and who don't respect their spouses at all. I'm from a generation who fears divorce because of our parents, and often holds out for someone we think is really, really great, and we're criticized for it. But you need that level of affection to get through the hard times. When I see an old couple sitting at dinner and one of them puts his/her hand on the other's shoulder, that shows me he/she cares enough about the other person to still want to touch them affectionately as a matter of course. I can't think of a worse fate than committing to someone you only sorta like.
Don't forget to set your clock back. You get an extra hour. It will take me an hour to set all the clocks.


Since Valerie was kind enough to post minutes of Tuesday Night Trivia, I should link to that entry. And she's right - the talented Tony is hosting next week, so come one, come all.
Woke up, put clothes on, didn't go to work.

It's amazing how I can spend so much time on a certain scene in my novel, and then, after writing a lot more of the story and knowing the big picture, I realize the best thing for the book would be to completely lop it out. Even if the scene itself is well-written, it doesn't move the story along and it slows things down. Hack, hack hack. Gotta know when to let go.


I was shopping Tuesday and they were playing music that sounded pretty good. So before I left the store, I asked the cashier whose CD it was.

"That's Clay Aiken's CD," she said.

Woke up, got dressed, didn't go to work.

I had a good writing morning. Did one of my last screenplay revisions. I got pretty drawn into the story, so I think it works.
Are a lot of celebrities dying young lately? Or is it just that my generation is getting older and noticing more? Until this year, the only celebs who I'd grown up with who died were Heather O'Rourke and River Phoenix. Oh, and Kimberly from Diff'rent Strokes, and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. But as time marches on, we'll see more of them, I guess. Well, rest in peace, Rerun (Fred Berry). I hate these signs of aging. Like those creases in one's forehead that appear one day at 31 and just stay there...


The Italian cover of my book is certainly interesting.
I finally registered on the Do Not Call list even though at first I decided not to. I declined originally because most of the people who work for telemarketing firms really need the money. But these days, most of the calls I get are just irritating computer messages anyway. It takes three months for Do Not Call to be activated after you register, so if you're interested, might as well do it now by clicking here.
Woke up, put clothes on, didn't go to work. It's a writing week.


Woke up, put clothes on, didn't go to work. I'm off writing today.

For anyone new who finds their way here, I have a homepage.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

There should be a national day for writing thank-you letters. I thought of that because there's a longtime screenwriter whose work I admire that I figured I should write a fan letter to. It doesn't matter if he gets a lot of them; it still doesn't hurt to send one more.

I do try to write thank-you letters when someone gives me really good service. I wrote one about a Sears employee who took a lot of time to change my watch battery a few years ago. I figured, for the $6 an hour she makes, it wouldn't hurt for her bosses to see something nice.

Writing that kind of letter is something I think a lot of us consider doing at some point, but it takes time. Yet, it's precisely because they're rare that it's nice to write one.

Today's reader update: "You Said: But someone also said this blog is starting to read like a romance novel, so enough about dating. If we do any more on male/female relations here, we'll never recover.
Are you suggesting Female/female relations? Wow Caren, now I am really starting to dig this blog! -- Mickey"


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I got all kinds of interesting updates yesterday and today, including a lurker coming out of the darkness to suggest that I get together with Mr. Anonymous. Also, a friend complained that Anonymous probably only goes for younger women, avoiding women in their 30s because they don't want to just "fool around." I'd have to point out that Anonymous did say he tried to date a divorcee. But someone also said this blog is starting to read like a romance novel, so enough about dating. If we do any more on male/female relations here, we'll never recover.

Lots to do today, so have a great weekend.
Something I just heard a loudmouth girl outside my window yell:

"I can't believe we fucking lost! AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It is fucking heartwrenching!"


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

The anonymous blogger finally responded. Isn't this fun? I will have to respond (hopefully concisely) to his response later on. But I appreciate the plug for the next book. And I'm glad he found things in the first one to like even though he's more into sci-fi and the like. So thanks, guy.


Update: I didn't realize that Anonymous had posted about me before recently, because I didn't check the archives. I'm glad he likes my author photo. Thanks. But I also read about how he thinks women have it easier in the dating scene, because it's up to men to "drive" the relationship. Trust me, that makes it harder. Yes, women do have some say in it -- they get to say "No." But do they ever get to make things happen if they meet someone they like? I have several friends who have nursed serious crushes for a while and finally tried to make something happen - and have been rejected. And it feels disgusting and devastating. So don't think women have it easier. Women get rejected all the time. And it feels worse than for a guy, but I won't go into why now because you'll beg to differ anyway. Maybe what we can agree on is that it's not easy for anyone, and leave it at that.
I'm dying to know who the Anonymous Blogger is now. Maybe he'll 'fess up at trivia one day. Or maybe he'll e-mail me.
This guy links to my blog. I'm sure he'd disagree with me, but many women have as much trouble dating as men. Moreso, because as you can see from his latest entry, the ball was in his court and he didn't take the chance. What both sides sometimes forget is that you can't help who, in the end, you have feelings for or don't have feelings for. But you SHOULD try to get to know other people, and they should be open to it. It's just that it might not always result in a relationship -- and it's not anyone's fault. It doesn't mean you did something wrong or you're ugly or you're a bad person. (I will say, though, that sometimes guys don't tell women enough about themselves -- this guy writes in his blog a lot but doesn't say much about what he actually has in common with these women, besides being attracted to them. I don't blame him for not wanting to get personal and write about it -- I imagine there's more to it than what's in the blog. I hope so, cuz women can be insecure too, and the more they know about someone, the more they have to talk about.) In any case, there are lots of intangibles in dating, and no guarantees. Hopefully it ultimately leads to what makes you happy for a long time.

That's about enough for today.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Mickey writes: "The Corvair was a great car! And the Gremlin can be turned into a great stock car!"


Tonight's trivia highlight: Co-host Rich Appel did a visual round with photos of junky cars from the '70s and '80s. The Corvair, Gremlin, Yugo, Fiesta and LeCar were all well represented. For one of them, someone guessed, "Hearse." Rich said, "Well, actually, that was all of them."

I just wrote a passage of self-analysis, but I deleted it because I keep most of that out of this blog. I know, I know, it'd be fun to read, but plumbing the core of my personality would let everyone know which parts of my books come from me and which don't, and that would ruin all the fun, wouldn't it?
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.


I've been wanting to write this for a while, and since today's a quiet day, I might as well do it now.

There's a new subset of people who are angry at Bush right now, for semi-selfish reasons.

When the economy was good, some of these folks didn't understand at all how anyone could be poor or need to depend on big government. Now that THEY are poor because they lost their jobs and couldn't get another one, and unemployment ran out, all of a sudden they want more benefits and government regulation. I'm hearing it more and more.

Recently, my newspaper got a letter from a woman who was earning $40,000 a few years ago (a very good salary well above the poverty line, although some would scoff at it), and after losing her job and being unable to find another one, she says she'll soon be on the street. She said she tried to get benefits, but was unable to because she's not a "crack mother with 12 kids." Ironically, the point of her article was that you shouldn't judge why someone is on the street.

Now, first off, the crack mother with 12 kids is a myth -- unless she lives in the same neighborhood as the woman with two Cadillacs on Welfare and the "lazy" people who are homeless because it's just so much easier to sleep on the sidewalk and ask for money than go into an air conditioned office and sit in front of a computer every day. Even if there has been some case like that in the course of history, it's certainly not the norm, and to act like it is is very lazy in itself.

Now, then. This woman all of a sudden decides she wants government benefits -- and she can't get them. And another guy, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, wrote a USA TODAY story three weeks ago about how he can't get benefits because he makes $960 a month freelance writing (he lives in campgrounds). An acquaintance of mine recently told me he is no longer a Libertarian because he sees how corporations can squeeze the little guy, and there needs to be more control. He recently lost his job.

My question is, why do people have to lose their jobs to suddenly realize that you can become poor or need to depend on the govt. without it being your fault? Can't people ever look beyond their own experience? When folks were doing fine, couldn't they have imagined that there were OTHER people who involuntarily lost jobs, became mentally ill, or had some other problem that made them depend on benefits?

So the nouveau poor are mad at the gov't. But you know, I'd have more sympathy for someone who's homeless and mentally ill than someone who was making a decent salary at a dot-com and didn't have the foresight to put money in a savings account. Yet, what I just said isn't fair, either -- it makes an assumption that people who are unemployed or poor right now were lazy or stupid about their money. And probably, most of them weren't.

Here's my point. Don't decide your political views based on your own narrow experience. Don't make assumptions about the world unless you really look at it. Don't do what's easiest.

Conservatives got angry recently when they saw that the University of North Carolina was requiring incoming freshmen to read and discuss Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed," about trying to get by on minimum wage. The book is non-fiction. It probably does have a liberal bent, but it's about the way the world really works. It's not fantasy stories about crack mothers with twelve kids. What were they afraid of - people finding out that poverty sucks?


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.
An argument for my NOT having a blog is that my spur-of-the-moment writing can be pretty bad sometimes. And here it is, for the whole world.


More to read at my homepage: www.carenlissner.com.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Did same thing yesterday.


A final comment from M.S.: Wives are always on a sex strike. That is why God invented girlfriends.
Vidiot writes: Why do you THINK he's groping people? (You know, aside from being married
to Skeletor.)

You Republicans are so stupid. You just put Ted Kennedy's niece into the governor's mansion in California. If her family wants her to put liberal policies put into practice, she can withhold sex until she gets what she wants. He has been charitable in the past, but if he gets too right-wing, all we have to do is urge his wife to go on a sex strike. Thanks!!!


Reader mail: "I was in search of Blackfords print as well and came across your site.
Wanted to say hi. I'm an actor currently running in Labyrinth's
production of DUTH HEART OF MAN. Last seen in OUR LADY OF 121st STREET.
Check out our site at labtheater.org or an old site ourlady121.com.
Hope you got your print.

Tonight's winning trivia team name: "Roy Horn tries 'pu**y' for first time - doesn't go too well."
I keep forgetting to mention that at trivia, one of my questions a few weeks ago was, "What is Monica Lewinsky's middle initial?" Someone wrote, "O. Like the face."

I heard the clip of this (below) on the radio, and it was hysterical. Not that I condone shooting anyone. What will happen over the next day is that people will be outraged at the remark, and then there will be reverse-backlash by parents saying, "Well, even though I don't agree with shooting, I can see where she's coming from...":

News report: Britney Spears had better watch her back. Maryland First Lady Kendel Ehrlich joked to a crowd at a domestic violence seminar at Hood College in Frederick on Friday that she has it in for the pop star.
"Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would," said Ehrlich, laughing.
She says Spears gives young girls the false message that finding and having sex with a man is more important that anything else.
Kendel Ehrlich is the wife of Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich.

Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Finally finished my fourth and last round of edits on book 2 and sent it back to my editor. This is the downside of publishing - spending entire weekends making sure that something you wrote two years ago is perfect. Only then can you move on to new stuff. Well, except that I will get galleys around December...and have to check THOSE....
Who's setting up these Monday Night Football games so a team that's way behind always catches up and makes for a nail-biter?


It is unfortunate when you run for prez and someone else has already taken your domain name: www.wesleyclark.com
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Got MILF? Someone else found my blog by putting in Blackford's name, and also today, someone found it by putting in "Pics of busty moms."


A friend tells me that Leno said:

"Have you been following the leak of the CIA agent?
Bush was furious and told his staff for once he wanted the truth and
wanted it NOW.
So they said - -
You lost the election and you aren't really the president."
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

A friend writes: "I cast my vote with Vidiot, his inaccurate details notwithstanding."

Well, a pox on all of you. I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.


Last night I got to hear J. Robert Lennon read from The Mailman. I bought a copy, which I will read quite soon. He's an amazing writer who I luckily got to share a writing seminar or two with in college.
A majority of polled Americans think it's a good idea that someone independent investigate the CIA leak. This has the makings of a long-term story...
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Got this e-mail:
I find the "Redbird in Air" poster quite disturbing each time I see it.
Every single time, I think something along the lines of "Gosh, that subway car weighs so much more than that basket full of children...and any moment
now, it'll drop like a rock and pull the basket plummeting along after it."
Just thought you should know.

It's only one child, fool. He's clutching a stuffed rabbit.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

The New York Transit Museum Store says it's sold out of "Redbird in Air," a popular John Blackford poster on the NYC subway system featuring a train. The reason I keep mentioning it here is that there's very little on the Internet about it and I people keep Googling it and getting to my site. Anyway, they are going to print up more, so if you got here looking for info, check their site and get on the wait list. The poster is the perfect depiction of childhood dreams.
Team trivia was great tonight. Every chair was taken, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was apparently a blurb about it in Time Out New York this week, and it brought some newcomers to mix with the old-timers and their "in" jokes. Thanks to all who came by.

I did a top 10 list of states with the most tornado deaths. I also asked the following question: Who appeared in the movie "Something About Mary," which was shown on network TV this past Sunday, and then appeared the next day in Monday Night Football?