Sep 10 3 2010


by Maggie Stiefvater

Grace loves books, high school, her friends, and the wolves that live in the forest behind her house. In the first place, she’s the sort of girl who likes animals. Additionally, she had a frightening encounter with the wolves when she was eleven, when they dragged her off her swing and she was nearly killed. She feels like she has a special connection to these magnificent animals.

And, it turns out, she does. These aren’t wolves; they’re werewolves, people who transform into wolf shape every winter. And the wolf whose intercession saved her life, it turns out, is a delightful young man named Sam. Theirs is the ultimate Summer Romance, but winter is coming.

Occasionally, the YA seams show through. Occasionally, disbelief threatens to come unhooked; Grace’s parents are hands-off, yes, but surely they would notice that a boy has sleeping in their daughter’s room four nights running? They might not object, it might make them happy, but it seems to me they'd at least want to make sure there was enough coffee or did he like tea in the morning? But this delightful page-turner avoids easy solutions while clinging to the precious conviction that somehow Love is enough.

Aug 10 31 2010


Bernard DeVoto, a cocktail purist, is no fan of The Joy Of Cooking or other cookbook cocktail compendia.

These books are sold freely over the counter, even in these days of national peril. A perfectly nice woman might obey any of those instructions – and don’t forget for a moment that she might offer the result to you.

She is probably about twenty-seven, give or take a couple of years, and let’s do what we can for her. She has lived alone too long, she had a happy childhood, and nobody has ever told her that childhood’s sweet tooth is how she went wrong... She is a bright girl, though, and when a man takes her to a bar she suppresses her impulses and orders what he does or else says “Scotch on the rocks.” (The only innate fault of women as drinkers is that they think too highly of Scotch.) All her friends are civilized and so she always had decent cocktails in the home. The trouble comes when she decides to wipe the slate clean and have twenty people in to cocktails.

Scott Rosenberg’s excellent defense of links begins by shredding the silly studies that purport to show that links cause brain damage. (If you meet someone who tells you that links impose cognitive overhead, keep an eye on your wallet.)

In part 2, Rosenberg does a nice job of explaining SEO-driven “corporate” linking, the sort of idiocy that newspaper and magazine sites indulge in order to grab more page views and cram more ads and Google juice into every inch.

It’s possible for links to make meaning and money at the same time; one doesn’t have to exclude the other. But when driven by the prospect of profit, bad links can begin to swamp good ones

ART actor Will Lebow has published (at last!) the privately-circulated open letter that launched the current ART Dustup.

Shakespeare serves the The Donkey Show as an effective marketing tool, but the process is not adaptation. It is not reinvention. It is, simply and precisely, exploitation.  The resulting shows were popular, fun, and in one case visually stunning, but they contained none of the power, intellect, and beauty of Shakespeare. They didn’t need to. That’s not how they seek to impact the audience.
Aug 10 30 2010


I made a couple of Aviation Cocktails last night.

An Aviation is composed of gin, lemon juice, and maraschino liqueur. (Replace the marsachino with triple sec and you’ve got a White Lady. Then replace the gin with tequila and the lemon with lime and you’ve got a Margarita.) It’s also supposed to have crème de violette, but I don’t have any crème de violette and neither do you.

I came across a prolonged discussion the the Aviation on eGullet. I’d never heard of an Aviation before. Turns out it’s pretty tasty and interesting, and you’ve got to admit that the name is salty as hell.

Aug 10 28 2010


by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is a Victorian spinster who labors under the weight of misfortune. Admittedly, her father is rich, and her mother, if no longer precisely good-looking, is at any rate fashionable and received in all the best houses. But Alexia is afflicted with a dusky complexion, an unruly spirit, two simpering half-sisters, a perception that she is unmarriageable, and a complete absence of soul. In consequence, the vampires and werewolves who populate the cream of London society are rendered temporarily human at her touch.

Inevitably, hilarity and marriage ensue. We visit the headquarters of London’s vampires in Westminster, and meet a Scottish Lord who happens to be (a) a werewolf and (b) the head of Her Majesty’s Bureau of Unnatural Registry. Centuries ago, the British reached an accommodation with their supernaturals, and the alliance of human and superhuman subjects has carried the British flag across the globe. In the end (of course) we also meet a scientific mastermind whose nefariously subterranean laboratories can only be reached through a tiny ascension room. Alexia inhabits a good, clean, and frothy world that is neither very deep nor very disturbing, and in place of overwrought angst we have good and (mostly) clean fun.

Constraints: no meat, school night, some guests travelling hundreds of miles might arrive late.

  • Mixed appetizers
    • slices tomatoes, sungolds, coarse salt, balsamic
    • smoked trout (brushed with ginger syrup, thyme in cavity, 20 min. over alder)
    • grilled fresh figs, boucheron
  • mushroom focaccia (shitakes and button mushrooms, cantal, goat cheese, and artisanal ricotta)
  • pancakes and eggs and toast
    • eggs in purgatory
    • corn fritter pancakes
    • Ruhlman’s buttermilk dinner rolls
  • blueberry lemon-curd tart
    • homemade blueberry and peach ice cream
    • candied, smoked pistachios

The meal proves that you can have too much food, even without meat. We drank vinho verde, which goes with the weather, and beaujolais, which goes with the mushrooms and maybe with the figs. The fritters were a failure: fritters must be fried to be worth eating, but I was deluded by a cookbook that suggested the pancake approach.

I got badly weeded in late prep and so the eggs in purgatory lacked their breadcrumb topping, and we've already discussed the pistachio brittle misadventure.

Aug 10 26 2010


So, I was trying to make the smoked pistachio brittle again this morning. “Easy!” I thought.

I lightly smoked the pistachios, and while they cooked I weighed out the sugar and water to the nearest gram. They got hot. They got hotter. Everything was fine. And then...

Suddenly, I had a pot of damp sugar crystals. For some reason, the sugar precipitated out of solution. What did I do wrong?

Breakfast of champions.

Aug 10 23 2010

ART Dustup

A silver lining to the dark cloud of the Boston Globe’s decline to provincial status is that the new Globe can give lots of play to local stories. This Sunday, the Globe’s big page one story described cataclysms shaking the American Repertory Theater. (I’ve been an ART subscriber through most of its history.)

As Paulus heads into her second season at ART, she has largely replaced the company’s steady diet of serious avant-garde productions with audience-pleasing musicals and adventurous interactive experiences. She has been a commercial smash, while shedding actors — and longtime staffers — who defined the company for decades.

Now, she’s facing the ultimate byproduct of success, a backlash. To her supporters, Paulus is a crowd-inspiring theater revolutionary. To her detractors, she is the Broadway-obsessed, box-office-driven director who has dismantled a prized institution.

The piece, by Geoff Edgers, focuses on what appears to be a greater rift than the inevitable change that must accompany the appointment of a new artistic director. Actors, staffers, and long-time supporters are quietly furious.

One issue, clearly, is whether the American Repertory will be a repertory company. This, after all, was always the vision: a core group of actors who you’d see in many productions over a span of years. Watching familiar actors grow over time and handle unexpected challenges was often terrific, though inevitably some actors were cast in parts for which they weren’t ideal and others kept turning up in the same sort of part in every production.

Paulus didn’t use the resident company much in her first year; I assumed that might be transitional, but apparently it’s policy. That’s a loss.

The Globe story casts the change as a conflict between ART’s experimental tradition and Paulus’s desire to use more accessible material in order to reach new audiences. I think that’s the wrong frame. Sleep No More was one of the most experimental productions the ART has staged, and also one of the most memorable. The Globe story alludes to its sexiness, but that’s just old Boston prudery: the nudity in Sleep No More wouldn’t evoke comment in London or New York.

But I sense that the ART thinks its great success last year was The Donkey Show, a disco nightclub in which something like Midsummer Night’s Dream happens. I thought The Donkey Show was an intriguing failure, the sort of thing that you’d think was inspired if you accidentally wandered into it one night in Maastricht or Manchester, but that doesn’t function as the premiere production of the New Artistic Director. The real problem in my view, though, is they’re still doing it a year later, and seem intent on doing it forever. That’s not what Harvard’s theater should be doing; that’s dinner theater.

And repeated The Donkey Show shows no confidence in the concept itself; if you want to do drama in a nightclub, how about giving Tempest a try? Pal Joey? How about Antigone? The dramatic point of Donkey is to have drama happen just at the edge of your field of vision while other stuff is happening all around you. That should work for other stories. And if it can only work with Midsummer and that sells tickets, well, take it to North Shore or Charles or somewhere and be a nightclub and let the Cambridge theater space go back to doing theater.

For the rest of the first season, Gatz was brilliant, Paradise Lost was solid, Johnny Baseball was pleasant froth that needed a better book, and Best of Both Worlds didn’t gel. That’s not bad – for a transitional season. And in any case, if the ART is to be a repertory company, some change is inevitable; actors who came with ART to Cambridge with a 27-year-old Cherry Jones (in Midsummer) in 1980 are 30 years older today. But if ART is not a repertory company, what is it going to be?

That said, the Globe story uses Amanda Palmer as a symbol for popularity and accessibility. That’s wrong — especially before anyone has seen the new Cabaret. Sure, it might be lousy. But I think there’s a gritty play in Cabaret that could be liberated from our memory of Liza, and Palmer might be the one to do it.

by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page

Dornenburg and Page use a distinctive style in their books about cooking and restaurant life, threading together numerous interviews about aspects of the art of cooking. At its best, this provides a consensus of successful cooks in their own words. At times, though, this book (like previous Dornenburg and Page ventures on chef training and restaurant reviewing) can read like Zagat’s, stringing together many short excerpts to construct an artificial consensus.

The core contribution of this book is a vast table of foods that go together, including both classic and modern combinations. Also of great interest are a list of parallel menus developed by prominent chefs of the 80’s and 90’s – comparing, say, the opening menu of Chez Panisse to what they’re doing today.

Why do some foods “go together”? Are these preferences purely memory and convention? Surely, contingency plays a big role in what we consider comfort food and in what we think delicious: Proust’s madeleines might have been donuts had he lived in San Francisco, though his time would still have been lost. Occasionally, you get a chemical incompatibility between two ingredients — asparagus is good and wine is good, you could imagine nice combinations, but the wine reacts with an enzyme in asparagus and so it’s not gonna work out. People form habits: some people always drink scotch, others drink vodka.

But I think there’s much more to be said on the subject. One suggestion here is that it’s nice to have ingredients that naturally get along: birds love grapes, for example, and poultry goes nicely with grape preparations and wine-rich sauces. Escoffier liked visual fantasies in this genre and things can easily get out of hand, but you can see why the affinity can make sense. Grant Achatz made an interesting observation about constructing tasting menus, finding that if people enjoy feasts more if they move from savory to sweet and then return to savory before dessert.

The title is perhaps unfortunate because Ruhlman’s Making of a Chef trilogy, the first volume of which appeared the following year, is deeply engaged in the question of whether cooking is an art, where Dornenburg and Page are chiefly using “art” to stand for a consensus view of excellence. Their approach, depending as it does on the joint opinions of a spectrum of prominent cooks, cannot easily explore the question because every respondent considers their cooking to be good, each has their own definition of art, and most of them are far too busy running a demanding business to spend a great deal of time investigating the natures of art, craft, commerce, and pleasure. I wonder, too, whether it might make sense to talk to critics and to people who eat well. In place of the abstract joys of that philosophical inquiry, however, we here have dozens of pages charting the best flavors for that lovely trout you caught, or what you might do with that bag of very ripe heirloom tomatoes that really need to be cooked tonight.

The starveling cat

One of the things that makes Echo Bazaar work is that it is under-written. The setting is baroque: London has literally fallen into the Abyss, Hell has an embassy in Marylebone Road, and the game greets you as its “delicious friend”. But the writing is, for the most part, clean and spare, simply stating (for example) that you’ve successfully picked the rat-catcher’s pocket for a tasty string of six rats.

One recurring bit of business is the starveling cat, who always appears in doggerel.

The starveling cat! The starveling cat!

It knows what we think,

And we don’t like that.

“Starveling” once might be a bit much, but recurrence makes it work. (There must be a dozen versions of this starveling cat, and you can buy starveling cat t shirts.)

So many games are so overwritten or just incoherent that their writing is obviously window dressing. “Someone set us up the bomb!” “It’s made of yew, and nearly new!” In games that repeat the same words time and again, simplicity and word choice can take you far.

Why is one called on the carpet? And where would that carpet be?

Update: It’s the carpet in the headmaster’s office. Of course. (Or perhaps the boss’s office?)

by Avram Davidson

Dirda adores Davidson, and this new collection is a nice supplement to the Davidson Treasury. Some of the wonderful literary confections like “Traveller from an Antique Land” depend on your knowing a lot of Victorian literary biography but they’re fun anyway. “The Peninsula” has a lovely sense of American business history and its resonance for families. “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire” is a wonderfully compact meditation on the terrible contingencies and chances of history.

We were in Chicago to visit Mom, who isn’t very well. We’d had an early dinner.

Egullet had recently featured a terrific thread about a three-day whirlwind tour of every wonderful thing to eat in Chicago that the writer (obviously a cooking pro) could humanly squeeze into a long weekend. One of his stops was Mado, the nifty farm-conscious joint where we’d just had some lovely eggs in purgatory. His next stop had been The Violet Hour, the night was young, and it was about to pour.

There is a point where the marriage of gin and vermouth is consummated. It varies a little with the constituents, but for a gin of 95 proof and a harmonious vermouth it may be generalized as about 3.7 to one. And that is not only the proper proportion but the critical one; if you use less gin it is a marriage in name only and the name is not martini. You get a drinkable and even pleasurable result, but not art’s sunburst of imagined delight becoming real. Happily, the upper limit is not so fixed; you may make it four to one or a little more than that, which is a comfort if you cannot do fractions in your head and an assurance when you must use an unfamiliar gin. But not much more. This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn. But it would not be a martini if we should see him. – Bernard DeVoto, The Hour

The Violet Hour has no sign. You find it from the address, and perhaps from the young women in aspirational strappy dresses waiting outside. It has a wait. It has rules: no Bud, no Gray Goose, no Jäger bombs, no bombs of any kind, and don’t bring anyone you wouldn’t bring home to your mother for Sunday dinner.

It’s great.

I had a Summer Sidecar (Maison Surrenne, Lemon, Orange Curacao, Lillet, Orange Flower Water ) and a Blue Ridge Manhattan (Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica, Laphroig, Peach Bitters). Linda had an El Diablo (Lunazul Blanco, Lime, Ginger Syrup, Créme de Cassis) and the famous Juliet and Romeo (Beefeater, Mint, Cucumber, Rose Water). The place is serious – home-made bitters, eight kinds of ice, and when making that Juliet and Romeo the bartender brought over a bunch of fresh mint and placed it before Linda before selecting the leaves. You could smell the fresh mint.

Besides, you just have to love that unicorn.

Paul Graham can write:

By 1998, Yahoo was the beneficiary of a de facto pyramid scheme. Investors were excited about the Internet. One reason they were excited was Yahoo's revenue growth. So they invested in new Internet startups. The startups then used the money to buy ads on Yahoo to get traffic. Which caused yet more revenue growth for Yahoo, and further convinced investors the Internet was worth investing in. When I realized this one day, sitting in my cubicle, I jumped up like Archimedes in his bathtub, except instead of "Eureka!" I was shouting "Sell!"

Almost a dozen years ago, I wrote a short piece about Web pages that outlive their creators.

The emergence of Web shrines -- home pages dedicated to the memory of friends or ancestors -- is unexpected, unheralded, and remarkable. Web shrines are among the clearest signs that the Web is neither purely a commercial nor a transitory phenomenon.

Of course, Web memorials no longer strike us as unexpected or especially remarkable. And I think we now see customs of behavior regarding the Facebook pages or weblogs of those who are no longer with us.

I think we’re missing two conventions, though. We need a symbol, a stone, to say, “this a a memory.”

And we need as well a mechanism for leaving little stones as we pass by, a way of showing respect and sympathy and acknowledging the visit.

Aug 10 10 2010

Cooking Diary

A cooking diary by Sharon Hwang. Lovely interactive HTML design (once you go ahead and start clicking and dragging stuff). Only yesterday, you had to do this stuff in Flash.

Update: FoodFolio is a web service recipe organizer. Personally, I think recipes are overrated, and of course there’s Tinderbox. But if you want your recipes in the cloud, this’ll do it.

Dave Winer suggests that book reviews like the New York Times are using the wrong business model. Instead of selling ads, he proposes, they should sell books and take a cut of each book they sell.

In lots of ways, this makes sense. Indeed, I always thought one of the shortcomings of the late Drood Review of Mystery was that you’d read about a book but couldn’t immediately order it. Nowadays, of course, we have Amazon and Alibris, but this used to be a real obstacle.

Winer’s model, unfortunately replaces one perverse incentive with a new one. Today, newspaper reviews are overly dramatic because dramatic reviews sell papers. A really devastating review is memorable, and a review that promises that a book, movie, or restaurant is the best thing ever attempted is bound to get attention. It’s a respectable version of trolling: extreme views flourish while sound judgment languishes. But Winer’s model could easily replace that incentive with one that seeks chiefly to move product, and to review whatever titles are most likely to get great box office. Instead of over-reacting to important books, we might get even more rose-tinted assessments of best-selling serial sequels.

by Allegra Goodman

“Don’t doctor recipes. More is less, and sugar will only get you so far.” –Allegra Goodman, The Cookbook Collector

We all know that “shortbread” is short because the shortening in the dough interrupts or shortens the web of gluten that makes bread dough doughy. We know about glutenin webs, but how did the medieval cook know about this?

Aug 10 8 2010


Saturday, we splurged and went to Maine where we had art, gin and tonics, lobster, and blueberry pie. A good time was had by all, except the budget.

So tonight’s dinner had a certain penitential theme, a training table for a short week of intense coding.

  • Clotilde’s seed crackers
  • Francis Lam’s weapons grade ratatouille.
  • Spaghetti and meat sauce (pretty much Mom’s old recipe, using some chain meat and trim from last week’s tenderloin)
  • Ruhlman’s chocolate cherry bread, except without the cherries because they had vanished mysteriously from the pantry

Mark Anderson has rendered the Lapham’s Quarterly diagram of relationships among Romantic and Modern writers, actors, painters, and muses in Tinderbox. You can download your copy here.

The Lapham Diagram in Tinderbox

The keepers of the $47,870 directory think I’m a crank for expressing some doubt that crowdsourcing is the best way to conduct literary criticism or to organize a reference library. Isn’t public tagging obviously democratic and full of open-source virtue?

We now learn that Digg has been systematically distorted for years by a cadre of Republicans who worked together to inflate the scores of wingnut sites and who tried to bury everything that did not further their agenda.

But of course literature is free from factions, movements, and personal animosities.

Crowdsourcing Revisited
Thanks to Mary Kim Arnold for the chart link!

Why would Scott Brown vote against confirming Kagan?

This seems strange and costly. Kagan was going to be confirmed, so the Massachusetts senator’s vote was inconsequential. Brown’s hope for a new term as a Republican in a blue state clearly depends on his ability to persuade voters that he’s independent; this won’t help. Yes, it might be useful to consolidate the wingnut base, but how seriously need Brown fear being primaried by GOP teabaggers in Massachusetts?

Aug 10 5 2010

Tinderbox 5.5.4

Tinderbox 5.5.4

Tinderbox 5.5.4 is out now. Lots of nice little improvements to maps, agents, outlines. This is a chiefly a fit and finish release, polishing annoyances and inconveniences. Get it!

Do you do interesting work with Tinderbox? I'm collecting interesting jobs people do with Tinderbox. It doesn’t matter here if you use Tinderbox in complex and subtle ways; in fact, simpler might be better.

When Judy Malloy asked me the Commencement Speech Question in our recent interview, she was likely expecting a few phrases and gentle reassurance. But this is not a time for gentle advice to people who want to make art, or for people who want to save the world.

We’re in big trouble. Millions of gallons of oil spill into the sea and onto the sands, and it’s old news. Millions of people are out of work, and it’s now becoming clear that many of these people will never have a real job again, and these are not injured or old or crazy ignorant unemployable people but good and hard-working folks whose work has vanished. Half the political elite, meanwhile, has gone nuts. Even the policy experts can’t keep up with the literature of their own specialty.

Everybody who thinks is behind in their reading. If you meet someone who can keep up, you have probably met someone who is no longer trying, someone who has decided that they don’t need to know because they know they’re right.

I think we ought to be working on new tools for reading and writing while we still have time to work. A lot of people who could do this work seem instead to have decided to interrogate the nature of language. The $47,870 directory added a new work this week. They're up to 154 works now. The new one is called Essay and it is written by JudsoN. It begins thus (for me; I believe it changes every time you read it):

The digital vector commodifies. Arts dissolve no non-smoking area, and sense insults! Beliefs engender experimentally. Is it not true that the labours metaphorically drown push, in turn, political agendas correspond to a virtual neo-foreground?

I don’t follow this. I can’t check secondary sources because the author’s pseudonym and the title are Google-resistant. I can’t ask the author, because I don’t know who wrote it. There might be meaning in the code, but I don’t see the code. There might be meaning in the generated source, but aside from it being pointlessly invalid HTML, I don't know what that point might be.

This retreat from meaning may inform our understanding of language and communication and identity, and perhaps this is indeed an exploration of "the construction of authority, the evolution of narrative space, linguistic integrity, and conceptualizing systems in general", as Springgun editor Mark Rockwsold writes. Maybe.

I might be missing the point and doing the author an injustice.

I think we might be better off if we occasionally meant what we said. That’s hard work, I know. From the interview:

Acquire whatever skills you need to create what you have in mind. Do not rely on vague ideas of collaboration or appropriation to supply what you currently lack. Be prepared to learn new things: computer programming, figure drawing, medieval Italian, narratology, or the intellectual life of Victorian parlor maids.

Master your computer, and know how to use your tools well. Look for new tools and techniques that can improve your work or open new creative opportunities. But don't let the dazzle of fresh software displace your own work; use new tools to make new things, not merely for the sake of using new software. Don't let the accident of having purchased a particular brand of computer limit your horizons; computers are not very expensive, and professionals frequently use two or three computers. Avoid the politics of Open Source or Web standards or DRM or Apple v. Google v. Microsoft. Capitalism is not your fault and these are not your battles. A writer who pledges to use only Open Source is the modern equivalent of the early 20th century writer who took the Temperance Pledge.

Wrapping yourself in the flag of Open Source Virtue ain’t gonna get you into heaven anymore.

by Cherie Priest

More fun than a barrel of steampunk monkeys. The Civil War has been raging back east for more than a decade, and downtown Seattle has been abandoned even longer after a mad scientist’s excavator unleashed the Blight. Now the center of the city is surrounded by the Great Wall and filled with toxic volcanic fumes and the living dead, the rotters. The scientist’s widow, Briar Wilkes, revisits the dead downtown in search of her boy Zeke, who is looking for answers and finding a compelling culture of scavengers, criminals, and opportunists. When one character explains that the weapon he carries for defense against the zombie horde is “Dr. Minnericht’s Doozy Dazer, or plain old ‘Daisy’ for short” this seems perfectly sensible, – and that’s the mark of inspired world building.

Aug 10 2 2010


  • Gimlets with basil-lime sorbet
  • Linda’s retro onion dip
  • Grill-roasted tenderloin of beef (on sale from Hilltop)
    • fresh-picked corn on the cob
    • grilled mushrooms
    • Carrot salad with Thai flavors
  • Homemade strawberry ice cream
    • smoked pistachio brittle

I smoked the (unsalted, unroasted, organic) pistachios for 30 minutes over oak, and seasoned them with a generous pinch of smoked salt. This was probably too much smoke, but the result was good.

In the meantime, I also managed another half gallon of dark veal stock from yesterday’s bones. Still need to turn some of this into espangole and then into demi-glace.

Judy Malloy (Uncle Roger, Its Name Was Penelope) has just published a long interview with me on the history and future of literary hypertext.

Late in the interview, Judy asked me “Do you have any advice to new writers in the field as to how to begin?" My response was long, and it’s bound to be controversial. Here’s a brief sample:

“Today's literary world is shadowed by an industry that exploits wannabes and careerists and those who covet the accoutrements of writing. Beware of those who want money from writers and avoid hollow and superficial "literary organizations"; their goals are not yours. Many contests are scams. Readings and signings are at best a marginal proposition for booksellers. Selling books is hard work; if a bookseller asks you to do a reading, try to oblige them as best you can and do your best to fill the store. Ask not what your bookseller can do for you; she has to scramble.”

“Promotion is part of the business of writing and it can be fun, but this is not where the work is done. Be wary of parties and readings and tours, and if you aspire to have drinks with famous writers, you can arrange this more easily in other ways. Do not be shy of explaining your work. Lead those you meet toward it, describe it frankly and candidly, and always accept that people are busy and not every acquaintance will find every work congenial. Seek out new people to know, introduce your work to them, and be open to fresh reactions.”

There’s lots more; Judy is an amazingly patient interviewer.