Woke up, worked on my writing for a good four hours straight, took a two-hour nap, woke up and worried that it was turning out boring and I'm wasting my time. But it's coming along.

A few people have given me nice comments on the dating entry. I know writing about dating is interesting, but I have to be careful not to get personal. I will probably share a few more thoughts on it in general on Valentine's Day or the day before.

A related topic that came up at dinner with friends was "deal-breakers." The following were suggested by my college associates (two females and a male) as deal-breakers among a potential girl/boyfriend:

-Extreme religiosity.
-Being a Republican (modified by one person as "Depending on why") (and no, this one was not, believe it or not, submitted by me first.)
-Hating animals.
-Ragging on Philadelphia and/or its sports teams.
-Having a dog (this one was DEFINITELY not submitted by me).
and finally...


In the "comments" section, write and haggle about your grade!
The fossil of a whale that swam eight MILLION years ago was uncovered. It's hard to fathom that amount of time, since we only have about 4,000 years of history to speak of. I've never really thought about the word "prehistoric" before. How could all of these things have been going on without us? (Very self-centered I am.)
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Last night I had dinner w/college friends. It occurred to me as we dissected each other's social lives that the people I know deal with dating in either of two ways: Some go on a lot of dates, trying really hard to meet the person of their dreams, and some have gotten tired of that and are doing whatever makes them happy without worrying about it -- and this latter group might even go an entire year without a date. And you know what? Often, the results end up the same. I do think there are ways you can put yourself in an environment to meet more people, but I guess dating binges don't work for some people. Part of the reason is that -- and the people I had dinner with are a testament to this -- you don't necessarily know what you're looking for until you find him/her (it's a cliche, I know, but...) Several of the people I know have had their best relationships with people who they would NEVER have picked out in a profile on the web, or met in a hobby-related group. They happened to meet them in some other environment, got to know them, and were hooked. So, okay, those relationships didn't always work out, but I think the bottom line is that intangibles play a lot into attraction. There are definite things we all look for, and no one should give up on them -- but the rest is somewhere in the ether.


Apparently there is a book out about people who are compulsive writers.

A few friends of mine are going through really hard romantic times lately. Here's a great blog by a guy. Usually, only girls write about their dating experiences. It's a tough scene sometimes.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Woke up, put on clothes, (gasp) went to work.

The new, "sexier" cover of Starting from Square Two is now up at bn.com.


What did I miss? I just put on Howard Stern and he was saying, "Someone should hide with a gun and shoot these people who steal avocados. Mother effers." Then someone called up and said, "Hi, Howard. Hi, Robin. How do you wash the wrinkles on your dog, Howard?"

All right. I gotta get off the internet and get some writing done.
Woke up, put clothes on, didn't go to work. I took off today. Not to rub it in or anything.

I'll be working on Book 3 today, even if it takes another year to finish. (How can something take another year if I have 350 pages written? Because it has to be better...better...better...)

An author e-mailed me to tell me she said something kind about my book. Hey, thanks.
A few e-mails that people sent me Sunday bounced back to them, they tell me. If you got a message saying your e-mail bounced back, re-send it if it's important. Good night, and good snow.


Mook: i don't know about mid-feburary, this one coming in tomorrow, looks like a biggie
Mook says: tomorrow night is gonna be the worst of it, 8-15 inches of snow.

Me, I think we'll get an even bigger storm in mid-February.
Someone asked if that means that I've sold a million books. No way. It just means my book is the 999,000th best seller on Amazon. But most books start at 2 million, so that's not bad for a book that's not out yet. They climb a lot higher once the book is actually out. If you get to the top 10,000, that's really good.
Hoorah - My Amazon ranking for Starting from Square Two has dipped below a million this week! Thanks to all who've advanced-ordered it. Amanda asked if it's still true that the cover is different than the one on Amazon. Yeah, it is; it's more sexed up.
So it hasn't snowed yet. Apparently two storms are going to converge. Maybe tonight, or maybe tomorrow night. I know most of y'all are sick of this, but in my selfish way, I say, Bring it on, baby!!!
I'm catching up on e-mail. Lots of reader response to the food tips:

Amanda writes: Caren, I'd just heard that about tomatoes - leaving them out on the counter rather than putting them in the fridge. I left one out and it spoiled much faster.

Sorry, Amanda. And apparently, I've ruined not one but two lives:

Almost 10:00 A.M. and not a single snowflake! I bet my friend 1,000,000 Kopkas, my camel and my young daughter's virginity all because of Mook! I will very much miss my 1,000,000 Kopkas and my camel! -- Mickey

Sitting on the edge, sitting on the ledge of the world...
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Today I joined various relatives for a tour of their homeland, Newark, NJ. I enjoyed seeing their old stickball haunts.

This is unrelated to Newark, but here is a convo we had in the car:

MY DAD (to me): Do you have a cell phone?
ME: No. Stop asking me that.
MY UNCLE: I tell ya. I was on the road the other day and I got a flat. If I didn't have a cell phone, I would have been in trouble.
ME: I don't have a car.

Conversation #2:

MY DAD (TO ME): Do you buy tomatoes?
ME: Huh?
MY DAD: Do you buy tomatoes, ever?
ME: Yeah.
MY DAD: Do you put them in the refrigerator?
ME: Yeah.
MY DAD: They lose their nutrients. I heard it on the radio. Now I don't put them in there.
ME: Oh. (Pause.) Do you turn down your thermostat before you go to work?
MY DAD: I hadn't been doing that, but I did it the other day.
YOUNG HALF-SISTER (Age 11): Since we're all sharing tips...if you're peeling an onion, and you don't want to cry, chew gum. (Pause) Uncle ___, do you have a tip?
UNCLE: On what?
HALF-SISTER: We're sharing food tips. Except for Caren's air conditioning tip.
UNCLE: Oh. I forgot to stop and see Martha Stewart on the way here.
Disturbing: ASSOCIATED PRESS - U.S. intelligence agencies need to explain why their research indicated Iraq possessed banned weapons before the American-led invasion, says the outgoing top U.S. inspector, who now believes Saddam Hussein had no such arms.
"I don't think they exist," David Kay said Sunday. "The fact that we found so far the weapons do not exist — we've got to deal with that difference and understand why."
Woke up, put clothes on, actually did go to work for several hours. Sorry!

By the way, if you're a newcomer to this site, thanks...here's my main page.


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

Both the New York Post and the Daily News have the Atkins/Bloomberg flap on their covers.

Mook the Meteorologist was right...it's going to snow overnight Sunday into Monday. He's always right. I should buy him dinner.

I met some interesting bloggers at the bash. Here are just some examples. A lot of people these days get to know each other better electronically before they meet in person. While there are advantages to this, I also think that it means you find out about someone is what they want you to find out, but depending on what they write, you don't always know the most important thing about them, which is how they treat other people (and animals). So it was good to meet them. I guess it depends on the blog. For my part, I don't always put my sweetest or most personal thoughts here. Some personal thoughts go in my journal (on paper). Some of them go in e-mails to friends. Funny thoughts go into my novels, screenplays and essays. But I do like having this outlet.
I went to a Blogger Bash last week. I will have to write more about it tomorrow. It was nice to see the faces behind the blogs. I'm too tired for now to write more...it's been a long week, and it'll be nice to actually sleep tomorrow. If anyone comes here who I just met, check out the main page.


I might think this other "Caren" is my alter-ego, except I can't read Portuguese, or whatever it is.
I couldn't figure out which paragraph of this story was best, since they're all so good, so here's the link. Dr. Atkins' widow is angry because NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed doubts about how Dr. Atkins died and called him "fat." Mr. Bloomberg apparently thought he was off camera. Bloomberg also mentioned that he had spat an Atkins appetizer into a napkin at a recent fundraiser. But the caterer was the best caterer in the Hamptons! Link
Forgot to mention that the trivia visual round last week was cross-sections of candy bars. We got answers like "Epstein Bar," "Gangrenecrisp," "Tad's Big Log," and "Carrie Pil-bar."
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I was thinking today about the predictions that we made about the future when we were kids. In school, teachers suggested that some day, we'd all be reading newspapers on computers and not on paper. As a media fan, I didn't like this idea. I still think we'll always want to be able to pick up and take along a newspaper ON paper. Reading things on a screen is painful after a while. But when you see people on the bus Monday morning reading the news on their Palm Pilots, think about how that might have been just a futuristic vision back in the late '70s. It happens slowly, but all of a sudden, you can look around and realize that we're partially into the future that we predicted. It's just, we don't have those flying cars.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work. I was so busy today that it took me until 10:27 p.m. to write, "Woke up, put on clothes, went to work."

Speaking of absences, Mook the Meteorologist makes his triumphant return today. He said that the reason he was away so long was to test how much I'd miss him. Here's his report: Looks like a good sticking snow coming late this weekend into the first part of the week. Even though it's early, he predicts a few inches Sunday night into Monday. And anyone who has read this in the past knows that Mook is pretty good.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

The reason people throw junk on the floors of movie theaters is that there's no where else to throw it. Why can't theaters put nets on the backs of the seats like in airplanes?


This should be the story of the year: "Churchill's parrot still cursing Hitler at 104." LONDON (Jan. 20) - British war leader Winston Churchill's foul-mouthed 104-year old parrot refused to surrender to newshounds Monday after a British newspaper tracked the bird down and discovered it was still alive.
"They've been trying to get him to talk all day, but he's not saying much," said Sylvia Martin, who manages Heathfield Nurseries where parrot Charlie has lived for the last 12 years.
Charlie, who kept Churchill company during World War II, was famous for occasionally squawking four-letter obscenities about Hitler."
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

If you were referred here to read about the chick lit forum, it's a few entries down...keep reading.

Here's a great article on literary weblogs (full of publishing news, gossip, etc.)


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Before, I saw a dog wearing a sweater and little black boots. What was funny was that the woman in front of me did a complete doubletake upon seeing it.


On writing: Sometimes coming up with a single line or character trait near the beginning of your novel improves it drastically. It may take months just to think of that one explanation or example that adds color to the main character, enlightens the reader on his/her motivations, adds a note of suspense, or increases the ability of readers to relate to or understand him/her. Just another reason why a novel can take a while to finish. Every few days, I come up with a slightly new take on an old idea somewhere in Book 3 that will make it better, or maybe a new idea. It's about 350 pages long right now and there's plenty of room for improvement.

Revising your book is sort of like making microwave popcorn. When you're at the point when you're getting only a few pops once in a while, then you know it's ready. But when it's still popping a lot, you have to let it keep going.
I got galleys today of my next novel, Starting from Square Two, coming March 1. Yay! It's about someone having to start dating at 29 for the first time since college. Here's my mainpage with more info on that book and on my first one, Carrie Pilby.

Dawn's essay today is about not fitting in in high school and taking refuge in punk music, so of course I have to link to it. Not-fitting-in-in-school essays my favorites. (So are not-fitting-in characters...)

She actually includes a photo of her SAT scores, a nearly verbotten topic after your freshman year of college (just like how cool it was that you were president of Future Farmers of America). It's funny, though...just yesterday I got into an argument with a brainy H'vard grad over the word "equivocate" and we both jokingly used our test scores to defend why we were right. Nerdy!
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I added some things to last night's entry, including a summary of a chick-lit forum for those who expressed interest.



In which I discuss a chick-lit forum, and then move on to the Style Court screening of "Nerd vs. Nerd" (and I knew both nerds!)

First off, it is right balmy in New York City right now. I can't walk down the street without seeing someone's face pointed toward the sun, their tanning oil sinking softly into their pores.

Now, then.

Tonight I went to a forum run by the Women's National Book Association on the "chick-lit" phenomenon. Since I run into people nearly every day who still don't know what I'm talking about, a brief explanation: "Chick-lit" books have been the most profitable publishing trend lately. They're books about young single women trying to find satisfaction in their careers, relationships, or both. After Bridget Jones' Diary and similar books took off, a few people realized that there was a big market in women's literature. Young women buy books.

A company called Red Dress Ink formed in NYC in 2001 specifically to publish one "chick lit" book a month. People said at the time that the market was already saturated -- but to their surprise, RDI's books really took off. Since then, companies like Simon & Schuster have also started "chick lit" lines. This past summer, the books exploded. Nowadays, they have to evolve and grow a little bit from what they were -- they can't keep being about the same exact thing. A new trend, for instance, is "Mommy Lit." There's also male "Lad Lit."

Okay. So the WNBA (not basetball) ran this forum on chick lit and the direction in which it's going. Panelists included book-buyers, an agent, a sales guy at Kensington Books (which has both a chick lit line and a more erotic-type chick lit line) and author Jennifer Weiner, who has a well-read blog and wrote Good in Bed and In Her Shoes, considered among the most popular American chick lit books. (Good in Bed is set to be an HBO series.)

It was pretty much established that in order to be chick lit, the books have to be about women who have to grow or overcome some dilemma, and they generally have some humor. They're different from romance in that the main character can be happy whether she finds a man or not...but it's always nice if she does.

I promised a few chick-lit authors who couldn't attend that I would recap the forum. I won't go over the stuff that's kind of old news. So here are some highlights:

1. The panelists think that, despite backlashes against chick lit (particularly in Britain, where it's an older trend), it hasn't reached its peak yet. (Of course, no one there was going to be negative and say it HAS, but anyway.)
2. Chick lit WILL have to evolve to stay viable. Jennifer Weiner (hereafter referred to as JW) noted that her next book is a Mommy lit (she is, indeed, a mommy now). She also mentioned marriage and dealing with aging parents as possible issues for future chick lit. She noted that a next step for the "Bridezilla"/wedding books is to look at what happens to the brides AFTER the wedding.
3. Guys tend to get more respect for their books. JW noted that the male trend seems to be addiction memoirs. (Actually, the most oft-mentioned 'lad lit' author seems to be Nick Hornby, since he writes about singlehood sometimes.)
4. Some of the panelists said it's not good when a previously-serious novelist is slapped with a pink cover in order to get in on the chick lit trend, because then readers buy the book, open it, and are peeved that the cover didn't represent the book.
5. Girls who grew up reading Judy Blume didn't really have anything after that. (A good point -- when we were little, we always knew we could go to the young adult shelf and get a Judy Blume book about a kid like us dealing with problems like ours.) I've always said that one key to chick lit is that its buyers know, at least a little bit, what they're getting. When you're about to get on a plane for four hours, sometimes you want a little guarantee.
6. Social reasons for chick lit: Women have more choices, we're children of divorce and saw our moms figuring out how to live without a man, so all of this affects us. Also, it's more socially acceptable to screw up a little bit now, what with two stock market crashes in the last 15/16 yrs.
7. One of the best questions asked is, is there value to chick lit besides entertainment? Jen Weiner said there definitely is. She noted that the books are about more than frivolity...they're about women dealing with really important issues. (I'd add to that that not all chick lit books are the same...for instance, Riding with the Queen brings in issues of dealing with a mentally ill parent, etc., all in a riveting read.) There's a lot of variety in chick lit, and hopefully there will continue to be.

So hope that's helpful to anyone who is interested in publishing trends. I went up to Jennifer Weiner afterwards, covered my nametag, and said, "Can I have your agent's address?" Actually, we have a mutual friend, so I wanted to say hi. She was quite nice. She said she read my book and actually liked it. She also said I looked shorter than in my photo. Usually people just tell me the photo looks too serious (well, sorry, folks!) She also has read this blog, and as proof, she recited, "Woke up, got dressed, went to work." Geez, maybe I should write something important here if famous Philadelphians are going to read it... I liked Good in Bed, too.

Ron Hogan also recapped this at his literary website. Also, since it hides inconspicuously at the upper right corner, here's a link to my homepage in which I link to a short article I wrote on chick-lit once, and have details on my first novel (Carrie Pilby) and the second one, Starting from Square Two, coming this March 1. There's also a ditty on how to get published.

Adventure Two

After the forum ended, I took the F train downtown (that's not meant to be a euphemism) and arrived just in time for a very special screening of "Style Court" in which I knew both plaintiff and defendant. Style Court is a show in which someone takes an acquaintance to court for their bad fashion sense, and a nutty judge rules on whether the person will get a makeover or not. Michael Malice and Todd Seavey hosted the event, in which they played a video tape of their recent appearance on the cable show. Malice was the accuser and Seavey was the accused. Malice, who has pretty good fashion sense for a geek, was accusing Todd of still dressing like a nerd. The judge had a field day asking which one of them was actually the nerd. But Todd was purposely dressed in an exaggerated manner with giant glasses, his blonde hair licked forward, and a tight shirt. Malice, who used to do standup, was quick-witted and sharp-tongued and explained that he himself used to dress like a nerd until a co-worker set him straight. Todd responded by saying that he was a nerd and that he was proud of who he was. At one point, Malice's answers to the judge (and accusations against Todd) were so quick that the judge's mouth was hanging open.

After the judge lashed Mr. Malice for alleged superficiality and asked Todd why it was important to him to be a nerd, His Honor asked Todd to approach a circle and stand in a beam of light. Todd quipped, "Just like Star Trek." (This was a total ad lib, which is evidence that Todd is really a nerd.)

The judge and the jury found Todd not guilty, their rationale being that what's REALLY important is the person inside. Thus, he didn't get the $350 in free clothes. And that's what you call winning?

I hope this description of my night was entertaining...but mostly it's been read by the people who were involved, and that's o...kaaaay.


"I was reading Pamie's blog about what you said in your blog about her blog and I thought I would pick up your book. Please don't hate me; I checked
it out of the library, so no royalties for you. But, you might be glad to hear that they had six copies of your book and there was a waiting list for
them. I really enjoyed your book. I can relate to Carrie in that I never really learned how to be comfortable in social situations and tend to
prefer staying home with my cats. I'm working on it, just not as fast as she did. I look forward to your second book, and promise to buy it this time!"

New feature: I added a "quote of the week" to the bottom of my main page, and intend to update it each Monday with some great quotes.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

They said on the radio that the temps tonight will range from "ten below zero to zero." The wind chill will be 20 to 30 below. Shoot, these kinds of discussions are better for this blog.


It is dark, cold and still outside...I can put the palm of my hand on the window to feel it.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Added some stuff last night that's down below.
NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg encourages anyone who sees a homeless person sleeping in the cold to call 311. Police can force them into shelters. I know it's a big civil rights issue, but there are definitely two sides to it...I guess I'm noting it here so I can get around to talking about it more sometime.
"Currently in midtown, 15 degrees, the Accuweather Real Feel temperature, minus one." -- 1010 WINS radio, 1:53 a.m.

When I got home from work tonight, I was tired, but I had to do trivia. After trivia, it was cold and windy -- perfect writing weather. I decided to make popcorn and stay up tonight. Now it's 1:54 a.m. and I revised pages 1-100 of Book 3 (all I do is revise these days), so I'm going to sleep.


Here is a nice analysis of my blog, and of the idea of novelists having blogs.
My dad wanted me to get him a live album that he thought came out last year, but it looks like it came out in 1998. His e-mail response: "It may have been 1998--time really flies. just yesterday i was carrying you from
the hospital to the car as it was snowing!"

You know what? Maybe it WAS yesterday that he was carrying me from the hospital to the car...

Tonight's winning trivia team name was "Bush wants to go to Mars, but the twins just want Uranus."
Sometimes, people don't get enough support. If you worked hard today, then I want to tell you you did a good job. If you did something nice for someone today that no one else knows about, then I want to thank you for being nice. For anyone who wants to tell me I'm being all Pollyanna, save your criticism for the cruel and the harsh - and then you can get to me.
Woke up, put clothes on, went to work. Why, why, why?


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work (everyone needs a day off.)

I ordered Pamela Ribon's book Why Girls Are Weird, since she was kind enough to mention my book on her blog and send a few hundred people my way. Plus, with that title, I'm bound to love it. And she's a good writer.

I'm going to be playing a lot of team trivia this week.
It's snowing.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work (it's Sunday). Kitzi in Hawaii wrote something nice about my book on her blog today. I'll bet her weather is nicer than ours, by the way.


Dave writes in again:
.... why am I getting sucked into this?!?! LOL (Editor's note: you?!)
1. Why do helicopters flying over the Hudson River need to refuel midair- especially if there are three of them?
2. Did Barclay essentially say "It's on the internet, so it must be true?"- Didn’t a Google search just prove that the word Trivolous exists? Does he really think you saw helicopters from 1966 in 2004?
3. Who told Z they were HC 130s?
4. What Male co-worker may have meant was not that we KNOW they're guns because we're guys, but that we ASSUME or PRETEND they're guns because we're guys.... I mean they obviously weren't breasts!
... heh heh, sorry 'bout that last one!

Last week, I was half asleep, and The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes" was on, and I thought I heard them say: "If my fist clenches, crack it open, before I use it and lose my tool."
Barclay returns: Must be pretty funny seeing all these guys arguing over the finer points of military aviation technology.  Nevertheless, I would not assert anything that can be easily refuted via Google: link.

Z says: Sorry, Caren. . . but "Mickey" is wrong. My sister (and her husband) pilot HC-130s, and one of their primary operations is to refuel helicopters midair.

Dave writes: Here’s an interpretation of that little discussion:
Male Co worker: Those are guns.
Barclay: Those aren’t guns. You’re just compensating. My brain’s bigger than yours.
Mickey: No it isn’t. Mine is.
...Doesn’t a refueling probe sound like more of a phallic symbol than a cannon, by the way?

Mickey writes: I don't believe that helo's refuel in flight! If they did the jet wash would cause the helo to crash. They are not designed for extended flight. That is the job of the long range bomber and the jet fighter. I believe that the "Pipes" are designed to measure air speed. They might also be related to communication systems. I will have to do some research on this issue.
Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

1010 WINS reports: "Repeating the current temperature, 2, going up to 15 in midtown."

I invented a new word and had to hop out of bed to see if it actually exists. The word is TRIVOLOUS. Frivolous and trivial. But there were about 20 instances of it when I Googled it, some as mistakes, and one from a girl's blog in which she also mentions the "morph word" frivial -- so I'm not the first (damn that internet!)


It's too cold. DON'T GO OUT THERE.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

And now it's almost over. Hallelujah!


Pamie has blogged about my blogging about her blog. I think the last 70 hits I've gotten were from her blog. She's got quite a following.
Barclay (don't you love his name?) writes: I read with amusement that your male co-workers think that an AERIAL REFUELING PROBE is a "cannon." More of a Freudian "sometimes a pipe is only a pipe" kinda situation.
Hey - I get a chuckle at some of your blogged insights. Kudos.

Moving right along, I just saw a free advance screening of Ashton Kutcher's Butterfly Effect. It was a very entertaining suspense flick. There were a few dopey things in it, as always, but I imagine people will be highly entertained. Now I have to wait quietly so people can see it and we can talk about the ending.
Three giant military 'copters just flew (calmly) south along the route of the Hudson River. They had what looked like long pipes sticking out of the front of them. Dialogue in my office:
ME: What are they?
MALE: Gun ships.
ME: Are those guns sticking out of the front of them?
MALE: Those are cannons.
ME: How do guys always know all this stuff?
MALE: 'Cause we're guys.
I added some posts last night (probably because I was at work late.)

For my main page, click here. For Amazon info on Carrie Pilby, click here. My next novel, STARTING FROM SQUARE TWO, will be out March 1. It's about someone who loses her college sweetheart at the age of 29 and has to start dating for the first time in NYC. Her bitter friends drag her out. Maybe I should have called it "Rude Awakening."
Hooray - Pamela Ribon, author of the popular Why Girls Are Weird (July 2003), is reading Carrie Pilby, according to her blog. Our books kept getting mentioned in the same articles, so she finally plunged in. I have to read her book, too, but I've heard good things. "Why Girls Are Weird" would have been a great title for my own book.

She writes: "Worst cover ever. I'm reading it in manuscript form, and it must be good, as this copy is so over photocopied that most of the punctuation is gone, and I'm still swept up in the story."

Thanks! In case some of you readers don't get the 'over-photocopied' bit, I guess that's a "slipped" copy that got through script readers. I'll explain sometime.


Attention all unpublished writers: Doesn't this sound just heavenly?

Speed-Dating for Agents

The Women’s National Book Association will host a three-hour "Speed Dating for Agents Event" on Sunday morning, February 15. Part of the proceeds will go to charity. About a dozen agents from New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area will each talk about themselves. Then each agent will sit at a table and authors will line up to talk to them one on one for three minutes. To save time, we will assign you a number when you register and pay the Speed Dating Fee of $25. You may meet with as many agents as you have time for during the three-hour period understanding that you will have to wait in line for each agent. We will be posting names and descriptions of the agents shortly. Each agent will have 48 slots. We will assign writers their meeting time with the agent and that number will be waiting for you with your sign-in packet on Friday, February 13.
I had to do my duty and go see a literary reading that involved the famous Steve Glass. After all, I've written about him here a few times. Also reading were Jonathan Ames (whose writing I enjoyed in New York Press) and Janice Erlbaum (whose writing I didn't know but is probably lovely). It's part of the Happy Ending Bar's reading series, and I must say that it was the best reading I've been to. Why? Because NOBODY BORED US. Readings can get rather monotonous (I'm sure some of mine have been.) Hint: Give yourself a time-limit. I know I will.

Anyway, first we were regaled by Whitney Pastorek on her acoustic guitar. She played three '80s songs and included the lyrics "Something something something" in Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine," which made me happy because here I was thinking I didn't know the words. After that, "Girlbomb" Erlbaum read about one of her experiences, as did Ames. Both were quite funny.

Then Glass went up there. He was described as "the infamous, notorious Steve Glass" by host Amanda Stern. She read his bio, including "former journalist," which brought titters from the crowd.

Then, Mr. Glass went up to the microphone. His hair was delightfullly wavy, and he looked so warm and cuddly that I couldn't see how anyone wouldn't want to hug him and make him chicken soup. Very endearing.

True to form, he started off with a self-deprecating joke.

He read a funny passage from The Fabulist about Hebrew school. Everyone was laughing at all the right moments, clapping at others. And as I watched him read, I couldn't help but wonder: Was he thinking, "I wish all this was happening without my having screwed up...I wish I was just in New York reading my writing to a crowd that only knows one thing about me: that I'm a good writer."

A new work-in-progress:

Bacon doesn't make me fat!
Dr. Atkins told me that!
I'm just gonna lose a ton
eating burgers sans the bun!
Bananas are real bad for me
I believe everything I read!
Give me fried duck as a snack
'Cause I'm a big fan of the quack!

Disclaimer: The above is meant as a joke. The Atkins (R) Diet plan in no way tells people that bacon won't make them fat. Additionally, researchers at the U. of Penn and other places have found that the diet can have beneficial health benefits. Thank you.

Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I find this interesting (no sarcasm; I'm honestly glad they were working hard to catch everything...):

>>Based more on experts' belief that al-Qaeda might attempt to set off a dirty bomb during the end-of-year celebrations than real information, the Department of Energy sent scores of nuclear scientists with detection equipment to five major cities, The Washington Post reported.
Only in Las Vegas did the needles spike inside a storage unit on December 29. The radiation, it turned out, came from a cigar-size radium pellet -- used to treat cancer -- that a homeless man had found and stashed away among his meager belongings, the officials said.
The homeless man, whose identity was not disclosed, assisted authorities in their search and was not arrested.

It's very cold out. Stay inside.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


I did a Google search on "Oops, I married my friend" in honor of Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander, but so far, no instances. Imagine going through high school as a football hunk but having to share your name with the hefty Seinfeld sidekick. Oh, if you just found my site because you're looking for info on the couple, forget about that and buy this novel to read.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Revised both screenplays some more this weekend. I'll be showing them to friends to make sure they're acceptable.


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

I had a dream last night that I met M. Lewinsky, and I told her that since Mr. Clinton is so irresistable, by doing what she did, she probably stopped some other intern from ending up doing it, so she probably did a good thing - because inevitably, some other girl would have gotten in trouble. This is the logic that comes to us in our dreams.


It's odd that after two early snowstorms, this turns out to be a relatively warm winter...so far.

I just saw a great indie film called Pieces of April about a young woman trying to put together a decent Thanksgiving celebration for her arguing family. It was very well done.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Mailbag: I just finished your novel tonight.... errr.. this morning... and I absolutely loved it! You're the first author I've tried to get in touch with...the bulk of the books I've read are of authors that are already dead.
Sometimes, on a winter night like tonight, we have to just sit back and remember how lucky we are if we're in a warm, toasty place. I know I am.

Last night, someone told me he thought I looked 22. Thanks!

I should write about New Year's resolutions, but I haven't had a chance to think about mine yet. I spend so much time analyzing my life that it's not like I need a holiday to do it. Resolutions would probably be similar to last year: Be a better person, eat more healthily, volunteer more. I don't have to include "publish a book" anymore, thank God.


Another new year's eve spent in New York with no harmful consequences. I'm home safe at 2:25 a.m. The worst part is always taking the bus or train home, as everyone is usually either drunk (resulting in their wetting themselves or vomiting on the train) or fighting with someone. I saw both tonight. A guy sitting on the train next to where I was standing suddenly vomited, a bit of which landed on my shoes, although I was able to shuffle out of the way. It looked like he only had chicken soup for dinner, lucky for me. I heard some couples fighting on the way home, and there were groups of guys fighting on the train, resulting in four cops arriving. The highlight of the ride home was that when we were stopped at 9th St. in Manhattan, those of us looking out the train window saw a guy in his 20s try to jump a turnstyle, get his feet caught on it and fall over it on his face. After a minute, he got up, trying to smile. Dolt. Last year, I took the bus home and there was a girl lying on the ground in the aisle, telling her boyfriend she couldn't breathe and that he should call 911 on his cell phone.

On the positive side, I had quite a nice night, and I wish everyone a great 2004. As they say in Boogie Nights, "Nineteen fu**king [snort] eighty!!!!" Well, it's not 1980, but whatever.