Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hey, where has Robin Slick gone?

Gah! I know, I know. Where have I been?

Well, I know one thing. I know what my son has been up to, and he can thank me for this one:

That would be Eric and Jason Webley at WXPN radio.

The fabulous Amanda Palmer tweeted yesterday that she was on her way to Philadelphia to do a radio spot at XPN and needed an acoustic guitar within the hour. Since Eric now lives with fellow Dr. Dog bandmate Scott McMicken in West Philly about ten minutes away from XPN, I got him on the phone and as Amanda tweeted back:

"@RobinSlick @mrericslick got it!! calling now. yay guitar."

"just sourced an acoustic guitar for our 1 pm radio show in Philly in under 7 minutes. fucking love twitter so fucking much."

and then:

"jason wields the guitar that came to us by the miracle of Twitter with it's proud owner, @mrericslick. pony!"
(Hence the above photo of Eric and Jason with the guitar)

She's got this crazy pony thing going on and must have died when she saw that. Fate is so weird - how the world is so big and yet the same people keep appearing in your life in strange ways with bizarre, connecting circumstances and with certain symbols which keep re-appearing. My friend, Jessica, whom I talk about later in this post, has a magical thing going on with birds. Anyway, before I go off track any further, one of Amanda Palmer's big tour habits, and Eric actually did the exact same thing when he toured with Lithuania, is that rather than waste money in sterile hotels, she finds fans and friends to crash with all over the world. So the night before she came to Philly, she crashed at a friend's down near Washington, D.C. and slept in a bed with a bunch of stuffed ponies. She tweeted:

"as requested by many, pictures of the ponies I slept with last night. this might have been the best bed on tour"

So how crazy is that. Actually, I think the best pony Amanda photo was taken by Kyle Cassidy...and I can't believe it, but I just searched everywhere I could think of and could not find it but I came up with my second favorite:

The one I tried to post was from this same series, where Amanda is on the pony and with one hand going lovingly through Neil Gaiman's hair. I'm so anal retentive I just spent a half hour going through Amanda and Neil's respective blog archives and can't find it anywhere. I even went to Kyle's site. Oh well. You'll just have to believe me. But this photo is gorgeous as well.

Yeah, Neil Gaiman, my former fangirl crush. Ha! Do you see what I mean about how crazy this world is? I discovered Neil Gaiman five years ago when Eric accidentally left "Smoke and Mirrors" on my book shelf and I grabbed it prior to going on vacation...I read it and thought I discovered an unknown author. Yeah, yeah, late to that party in a big way. But I made up for it! I now own everything he's ever written.

I would later drag Eric to a Neil Gaiman signing in Philadelphia in January of 2006 where I would mortify my poor son with such embarrassing behavior I still cringe but Eric Slick is, among other wonderful things, a great sport and despite the fact that I am always, always, always getting him involved in my Lucy and Ethel schemes, he remains my "partner in crime", or the Moe to my Curly.

Hence his response to my frantic phone call to him yesterday to please provide Amanda with a guitar. I haven't talked to him yet today, but Amanda and Jason guest listed him for last night's show at the TLA in Philadelphia...I hope he went and had a blast. Since this has been the week from hell for me (don't ask), I could not go and was bummed.

And the world gets crazier, because a few months ago, Kyle Cassidy wrote to me, and asked if he could photograph my daughter Julie and Adrian Belew when they perform at the World Cafe Live in two weeks. This time, Julie is opening for Adrian in a one woman show, and you can buy your tickets right here.

So yeah, it occurs to me that even though it's totally random, it is just weird, weird, weird how certain people appear and re-appear in your life, no matter how slight the reappearance is.

Oh yeah, another crazy example. Last May, I went to New York City to the Highline Ballroom to see my good friends read their six word memoirs pubilshed by Smith Magazine. Who was the musical guest...and I had no idea? Amanda Palmer! And who was with her in the audience standing there listening to the readers pre-performance? Neil Gaiman! It was just before they went public with their romance, and I saw them standing there and blurted, "I'm telling the internet!" Amanda heard me and turned around and smiled; I said Hi to Neil who gave me a peck on the cheek (yes, I did wash my face afterward though I did consider...never mind) before rushing off backstage.

And naturally I had dragged Eric with me to this event, too.

The poor guy. But like I said, if there is a more good natured, better sport in this world than my son, I do not know who it is.

So that's my story about the randomness of life.

Back to Where have I been?

I blame Facebook, Twitter, and best of all, my new novel, which has unexpectedly turned into a thriller involving everything from panic attacks to cults. But let's be honest here...Julie and Eric are adults now and I feel like when I blog about them every single day, it's an invasion of their privacy and really, if there's anything they want to tell you, they have blogs and Facebook and Twitter accounts of their own. Well, Eric doesn't have Facebook because...uh-oh, here I go invading his privacy...Eric has weaned himself of a lot of online activity and now prefers to devote his downtime (meaning, when he's not on tour) to writing music, meditation, making art as in collage and paintings, and reading. Good on Eric! I am trying to follow his example and miserably failing.

Same goes for Julie, the internet weaning, that is, but just add cooking to that list, and how proud am I of her! Do you know she's almost sold out of the first 1,000 of her debut CD? Do you have any idea how awesome that is? I subscribe to Bob Lefsetz' letter about the music industry and Dave Matthews only sold 3,000 CDs last week.

Have you picked up Julie's CD yet? It's getting AMAZING reviews, links for which I'll put up in my next post because some major ones are about to come out. But in the meantime, pick up your copy here.

Anyway, I started this blog in 2004 when Julie was 18, Eric 17 and at a time when blogs were just really starting to go mainstream. I am in awe when I hear of people who have had online journals since the mid-nineties. I was so late to that party, too. I did not even go on line for the first time until 2000. I know. What a luddite. Anyway, it's my ten year anniversary. On the plus side, being online has introduced me to some of the most incredible people in the universe, friends I now have all over the world I'd never have met otherwise. I was published for the first time in an online magazine soon after, which lead to my story being nominated for a Best American Short Story Award, which lead to my first novel.

On the minus side, my house looks like hell. Ha! I'm sorry, I no longer have time for housework - I have to see what my Facebook friends are doing and then I have to tweet and then I have to...


Actually, if I am really honest, I am still sort of wary of Facebook, which I have finally learned how to use properly though I still find it overwhelming. I apologize to all of the people I inadvertently ignored - I did not know proper FB etiquette and even now, with my modest amount of "friends", I would literally be commenting there all day if I stayed current with everyone I know. So, like, blogging, Facebook must be severely cut back.

As far as Twitter, I don't know much more of that I can take. I have made a couple of great friends there, one of whom has become one of my favorite people and who has helped Julie more than I could ever begin to tell you - Anil Prasad of Innerviews and Guitar Player Magazine. Anil has a book coming out later this year and he is definitely going to be in my Celebrity Book Club. What's my Celebrity Book Club? Aha! Glad you asked. More on that in a minute.

On May 26, 2010, I had an amazing time attending Book Expo America in New York. I even got a mention, which made me laugh out loud:

"Oh, the People You Meet at BEA Parties

By Jason Boog on May 27, 2010

Yesterday we prowled BEA parties with Garrison Keillor's dour "Publishing is about to slide into the sea" pronouncement ringing in our ears.

Our night began at The New York Times' literary party where Ryan Chapman discussed upcoming projects and P.E. Logan chatted about book reviews. Carolyn Kellogg pondered the long night ahead of us, Thomas Rogers critiqued Sex and the City 2, and Leslie Koppenhaver cheered Graywolf Press' good year. Laura Miller shared her feelings about the Lost finale and Jonathan Lethem suggested we read a certain biography of the late, great Nathanael West.

At the Harper Perennial blogger apprecition party in the historic Algonquin Hotel, we talked with Ron Hogan about his reading series and debated publishing profits with Levi Asher. Jurgen Fauth chatted about Fictionaut while Marcy Dermansky explained her upcoming novel. Kevin Smokler talked about book tours. Susan Henderson showed off her new galley and Robin Slick said her son had joined the rock band Dr. Dog..."

Yep, the rest of the world lives vicariously through my kids, too.

But you'll see the mention of Susan Henderson. I went to New York because she was indeed signing galleys of her debut novel, Up from the Blue and I snagged one and devoured it immediately.

Listen. This book will take your breath away. I gave you the link to buy it. Do yourself a favor and pre-order it now. Susan just may win a Pulitzer for this. I don't say things like that lightly.

Joining me in New York for this wonderful occasion, which also included an amazing cocktail party at the Algonquin Hotel thrown by Sue's publisher, HarperCollins, for whom I will now be reviewing books, was my brilliant writer pal Jessica Keener, she of the bird story I mentioned above. The three of us booked a suite at the Algonguin for the night so we could party away and not have to take long train rides home. Sadly we were missing the fourth member of our Great Canadian retreat, writer Tish Cohen, because it was release week for Tish's latest book, The Truth About Delilah Blue.

I am reading that right now. The Globe and Mail called it "the summer's first terrific beach read". Read their review right here.

As soon as I am finished reading, Tish is going to get the Celebrity Book Club treatment, too. I don't know if Canadian writers are eligible for Pulitzers cannot believe I read two books in a row of this quality.

So what exactly am I talking about? Well, here's the plan. Whenever I read a book which brings me to my knees like Up from the Blue or The Truth About Delilah Blue, I'm going to post a review. My hope is that you will buy the book or go to your local library, read it, and a few weeks later, we'll discuss it in the comment section here. I'm going to invite a lot of pretty famous author pals of mine to participate as well as some rock stars since I, erm, happen to know a few. Everyone can come here and talk about the book and they will get replies from celebrities they might normally get a chance to "meet". I'll give plenty of advance notice, and each post devoted to a special book will remain up until we've all had a chance to discuss it and then I'll move on to the next.

Let me give you a recap of some of the books I intend to talk about:

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen - already linked
Up From the Blue by Susan Henderson - already linked
It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me by Ariel Leve - buy it here.
Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky - buy it here.
Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt - not available for pre-order yet, but read about it here.
Innerviews: Music without Borders by Anil Prasad
The Other Life by Ellen Meister

Notice for most of my links to buy, I use Indie Bound as opposed to Amazon. Please support indie book stores. Anyone who reads this blog knows how I loathe corporations.

Getting back to my Celebrity Book Club...

Actually, let's start with The Truth About Delilah Blue. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to continue to plug this before putting up a comprehensive review for us to begin our chat. Here's the official HarperCollins blurb and trailer to entice you further:

"The Truth About Delilah Blue
What if you woke up one day to learn that you were once a child on a milk carton? This is the provocative premise of The Truth About Delilah Blue.

Lila Mack, formerly known as Delilah Blue Lovett, has felt like an outsider ever since she moved from the gingerbread community of Cabbagetown, Toronto, to Los Angeles with her father when she was eight-years-old. Now twenty and still struggling to find her way in life, she yearns to become an artist like her long-lost mother, but, unable to pay for classes, she does something quite daring. She takes a job as an art model, posing nude for a classroom full of students so she can learn from the professor—a decision that lifts the veil of her once insular world.

Anxiety over exposing her body is the least of Lila’s worries when her father starts to become disoriented and forgetful, signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the same time, her mother re-enters the scene, bringing secrets about the past that will change their lives. Suddenly, nearly everything Lila knows about herself is a lie, and she has no idea who to trust—her free-spirited mother whom she always believed abandoned the family, or her adoring father, who has begun his descent into senility and is either unable or unwilling to give her answers. Lila realizes neither parent is what he/she seems and the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all—herself.

The Truth About Delilah Blue showcases Cohen’s talent for finding the humor and heart in the most dysfunctional of families as she tackles the subject of parental abduction and the themes of abandonment, trust, healing and forgiveness."

And when I just went to Tish's FB page to lift this video, I got the greatest news! It's #5 on the Globe and Mail Canadian best seller list!

Trust me, I'm not quite finished reading it yet, but I would have to agree. Though I disagree with the term "beach read"'s way, way, way more than that.

Anyway, there is a ton of stuff going on - like, Eric is going to be on the Craig Ferguson show in a couple weeks, more exciting Julie news...wait...didn't I start this post off by telling you I wasn't going to do that anymore...okay, I lied...but I've blabbed enough for one day and I promise to be back...