I'm in Los Angeles, guys. I flew here yesterday. Despite the wintry mess on the East Coast, my flight wasn't a minute delayed and I got myself here. I'm only here until tomorrow, but came for tonight's Happier Hour with Dani Shapiro and Sarah Manguso. Almost two years ago, I asked Claire Bidwell Smith to carry the Happier Hours torch here. I came in May 2013 for the first one. It was wonderful and I remember thinking, This little literary thing I dreamed up is now happening in Los Angeles!
Almost two years later now, my amazement has not abated. Tonight, Claire will co-host, as she has been, with the incomparable Jillian Lauren. Rumor has it there will be about 100 women there. And I will be there to say a little something about why I started these gatherings in the first place (in 2010!). I'm the slightest bit anxious, but mostly really excited.
I'm staying with Claire and her sweet girls and I'm up early, before all of them, sipping strong coffee, hanging with the family cat Foster (who chills in the window here) and reading Sarah Manguso's slim and powerful Ongoingness: The End of a Diary. Birds are having a conversation outside, a true back-and-forth. And I'm looking around, checking out the books on the coffee table, breathing in the air and quiet morning rhythms of my friend's California life. Last time I stayed in a hotel. This is so much better; to be in someone's home, to glimpse a life.
Anyway, I will fill you all in on tonight and the rest of my trip. But for now, I just wanted to pop on and say hello and honor the fact that I am here. Here. It's good, and edifying, to get away, to capture perspective, to stay up late talking to a good friend about books and love and life.
I hear little girl voices.
A new day is beginning.
That's always a wonderful thing.