Friday Five

1. After many years (more than I care to mention) and dozens of revisions, my novel manuscript is going to see the light of day. Editors. My agent will be sending it to a select group at publishing houses in the next week or so. I’ve been toiling away on the thing in dark cafes for so long, at times it seemed no one would ever read it but me and the few friends I’ve arm-twisted into reviewing it. It’s both scary and exciting. Oscar Wilde said that there are only two tragedies in life – one is not getting what you want; the other is getting it.

2. Speaking of passing judgment, Francine Prose once told me that she doesn’t give bad reviews of books. Not that she lies if she doesn’t like them. She simply won’t write a review. Why not highlight the superb rather than belabor the crap? I’ve taken that to heart. How many books have I suffered through, usually at the behest of professors, just to get to THE END? For a writer, there is some value in that. Sometimes you learn how to write well by recognizing just what makes it so bad. But you know what? Life is too short and there are too many excellent reads out there to sludge through something I don’t like. Nowadays, if I’m not excited by page 50, it’s over. Returned a book to the library that I’d been waiting on for a couple of months. The premise was really interesting. The execution was horrid. Clauses upon clauses piled up so thick I couldn’t find the active verb. I ain’t finishing it and you can’t make me.

3. I am the proud owner of a bubble umbrella. Normally such things would not be eventful, but they are hard to find. You city folk will commiserate, no doubt. Having broken 1,293 umbrellas due to  the wind tunnel in front of my office, I’ve personally put the kids of the guy selling them on the corner of Houston and Hudson through college. (A shrewd business man, he also sells sunglasses in the summer.)  Enter bubble umbrella. It doesn’t turn inside out. You can see where you’re walking. It keeps your shoulders and bags dry. I found this beauty at Urban Outfitters. You know you want one.

4. Have you heard about the gigantic plume of volacanic ash coming from of Iceland? Making a mess of air travel across Europe? I’ll admit this story wouldn’t be more than minor interest to me except that I’m going to Iceland. True not until June, but still, it’s already erupted twice in two months. Did I mention this volcano has been dormant for 200 years? Not only is there ash fallout everywhere, but the volcano is situated under a glacier causing flooding which is taking out major roads (Okay, road singular. There is really only one major road in Iceland.) I’ve been keeping tabs on it through the Iceland news to try to cut through the sensationalism of our media. A hardy people accustomed to their share of hard times (the island was founded by Vikings for Pete’s sake), they seem to be taking it in stride. The most drastic thing mentioned was  this by Reynir Ragnarsson, who was with geologists  taking samples from the ash cloud yesterday morning: “I have never before experienced the darkness found in the middle of the night on a sunny day.”  

5. If you are in NYC, stop on by Crumbs Bake Shop. One of the best bakeries this side of the Cake Man Raven and Magnolia. It’s actually insulting to call these things cupcakes. They are more like edible Van Goghs. I could wax poetic for hours, but there is a reason I’m telling you about them. They are participating in Oprah’s Live Your Best Life Fundraiser (as am I). For every cupcake sold, Crumbs will contribute $1 to the 10 charities involved in the fundraiser. Below is a list of all the locations throughout the city (soon to be coming to BKLYN, I hear).

What was that? You’d like to contribute more? Well, I’m happy to oblige. Please check out my fundraising page and donate. So far with the help of kind, awesome, generous and beautiful folks like yourselves, I’ve raised $640. My company is matching dollar for dollar, so that’s…wait you know math isn’t my strong suit…$1,280 for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Crumbs Locations: Garment Center: 1385 Broadway (37/38th)
Grand Central: 420 Lexington Avenue (43/44th)
Broadway: 1675 Broadway (53rd))
Bryant Park: 43 West 42nd St (5/6th Ave)
Lexington Ave: 1418 Lexington Ave (93rd)
Madison Ave: 501 Madison Ave (52nd)
The Village: 37 East 8th St (University/Broadway)
Third Ave: 880 Third Ave (53rd)
Union Square: 124 University Place (W.13th)
Upper East Side: 1379 Third Ave (78th)
Upper West Side: 321 1/2 Amsterdam Ave (75th)
Wall Street: 87 Beaver St (Pearl/Hanover)

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