I haven’t been very active lately and this is why: blogosphere, meet baby Clara! This little love is now one month old and between her and her three sisters, I’ve taken a little break from writing. I will say, though, it’s hard to NOT write; I got my latest issue of Tahoe Quarterly and it was so strange to not have an article in there. I plan to sit out one more issue then getting back to writing again!
My break, not coincidentally, happens to overlap with my oldest two being out of school for the summer. So hopefully two months of summer fun and baby time and then I will be more than ready to send kids back to school and get back on my computer!
Had a fabulous time this past Thursday at Tahoe Quarterly’s Mountain Home launch party! This was the first launch I’d been able to make and I was so impressed by the evening. The Nevada Museum of Art is a FANTASTIC venue, and chef Mark Estee did an amazing job with the food. Probably some 150 people attended, to include area architects, builders and interior designers, plus a lot of other people involved in making the magazine a success.
The top picture is our Writers of TQ group: Sue, Vangie, me and TQ editor-in-chief Sylas. Between the four of us we wrote the majority of the Home Award articles, and we usually get together to cull the submissions. A fun job, and I love working with this team! Anyway, great event and excited to make more of the TQ parties in the future!
TQ’s Ski & Ride 2018 issue is on stands now! I wrote a story about Tahoe’s literary scene, the focal point of which is South Shore’s Bona Fide Books. I love the concept of this company: Founded in the spirit of art and community, Bona Fide is a small press that specializes in place-based nonfiction. Bona Fide recently released Permanent Vacation II, relating stories from those who have worked or lived in America’s national parks. It’s a great read, with stories that range from funny to heart-wrenching and are set in backdrops from the Everglades to Hawaii and Yellowstone to Denali.
Anyway, loved being able to profile Tahoe’s local literary movers and shakers. The entire issue is packed with great reads, so grab a copy wherever available!
And on the work note: I turned in my story for the Winter edition and I managed to tag along on a day of tours for Mountain Home. I LOVE seeing the houses, and this year was no exception. After touring, let’s just say that a two-story-high double wine wall is a must-have in my dream house.
We just had a meeting yesterday to talk over all the award winners. It’s going to be an amazing issue—some outstanding architecture, not to mention some really good stories behind the homes. Still a few months before the Mountain Home release but I’m excited to get to work!
You know what’s strange? After ten years (or possibly eleven?), this is the very first copy of Tahoe Quarterly in which I don’t have a single article! Between a two-week-long spring break for the kiddos and traveling for my husband’s work (I’m a big fan of conferences in the Bahamas!), I had no extra time.
But beyond not writing for this issue, I’ve also stepped back from editing and proofreading, which was getting too hard to do in too short a time. It was kind of cool because I got to read this issue without any idea of what I’d be seeing. Some great articles, as always!
Anyway, now that I’ve had a break, I’m back to it, with two articles in progress for this next issue. A very fun Arts profile about a man who combines his passion for history, photography and birdwatching, and a Home Design piece about a luxurious Martis Camp residence. As much as I love writing these architecture articles, they can be almost painful to do while working from my own home, which is currently covered in mac and cheese from the one-year-old, who apparently has no idea of how things get from A to B (her hand to her mouth) without taking a detour on the floor/carpet/sofa…
TQ’s 15th annual Mountain Home issue is done and should be on the shelves shortly! I love this issue: The homes are gorgeous and everyone is excited to talk about how the project came together. I wrote five pieces for this issue, to include one story about a pre-fabricated home in Martis Camp and another about South Shore’s newest luxury hotel, the Lodge at Edgewood. That one was pretty convenient, as I stayed down there for a night last September for my husband’s work, so I was able to get a guided tour and also enjoy the hotel experience. Since then, the cast of Modern Family stayed there while shooting an episode at Tahoe, and the lodge was recently featured in The Bachelor. I hope Sofia Vergara enjoyed her stay as much as I did!
I didn’t go into the office at all with this set of proofs, but my editor arranged it so the proofs would get dropped off with me in Reno for a day before being picked back up and delivered back to the Incline Village office. However, even still, it’s been hard for me to give the time I like to devote to proofing, so I’m stepping down as TQ’s copy editor. I’ve had a fabulous run, though, and will continue writing for the magazine. Considering this is my favorite annual issue, plus, I believe, the biggest issue Tahoe Quarterly has ever produced, it feels like an appropriate one to end on. Anyway, it’s a beautiful magazine, so look for it around Lake Tahoe and in Reno soon!
I am a huge fan of Tahoe in summer. Well, of Tahoe at any time, but especially in summer. It’s not too hot, the water is glassy, the shores are golden and the days are long.
Unfortunately, summer is about to come to a screeching halt for us: My oldest daughter begins first grade on Monday and my middle daughter starts preschool the following week. The upside is that this will force me into being a productive human once again. Between beach, summer and baby (especially baby), my brain has been on hiatus the last few months. I’ve already got a growing to do list, but I think I will enjoy these last few glorious days of summer and put off the list until next week!
Maria Semple’s praise for Emma Straub’s “The Vacationers” calls it witty and bighearted and promises to “leave you smiling for days.” After finishing, all I can think is how on earth did Maria Semple and I read the same book?
“The Vacationers” popped up in my google searches as being in the same vein as Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”, which I loved.
This was nothing like Bernadette. The characters were shallow and boring, as was the plot. This is the tale of characters going on a Spanish island vacation after the husband had an affair with a much younger coworker. They are joined by their teenage-angsty daughter, their worthless son and his girlfriend, whom everyone hates for no real reason except that she’s 10 years older than the son, plus their gay friends. I found a lot of the plot unbelievable (how do magazine writers afford a giant home in Manhattan? And how is an affair something that would make headlines? I kept thinking there was going to be some twist, something kinky or weird that would have made it newsworthy, but it was a pretty basic, boring affair).
Nothing really happens except the characters treat each other pretty horribly: The wife seems to be openly in love with her gay friend Charles (to the point of bathing with him in the room) and cares more about him than her husband; her husband later seems to “prove” his love for her by stalking her on a motorcycle; the daughter seems happiest whenever she’s mean to her mother; the son is just miserable. Carmen, the girlfriend, is the only character (except perhaps Charles’ partner Lawrence) who is worth liking: She helps out around the house, she tries to help her boyfriend with her problems and she keeps the secret of the husband’s affair. Yet, because of her age, and possibly because she’s Cuban American or the family doesn’t like the way they dress, everyone hates her, even making jokes about her drowning, and when she tries to empathize with the husband and confide that her parents had problems, he’s uncomfortable and just tries to think of ways to get away from her.
I gave “The Vacationers” two out of five stars on goodreads, in part because I did finish (though I kept going because I thought there’d be some great twist, which there wasn’t) and partly because I think this book shows that any aspiring writer who worries whether or not their work is good enough to be published can read this and realize that pretty much anything can be not only published, but also get glowing reviews.