Yellowstone National Park Part 1

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 11:31 am on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In October, Kyle, Gideon, and I went on an RV trip. We rented a Cruise America RV and drove over 3,000 miles through Nevada, Idaho, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Glacier National Park in Montana, Seattle, Vancouver BC, and Portland, Oregon. Here’s the route:

map

The RV looked like this:

rv

We covered a lot of the country, but the highlight of the trip was Yellowstone.

DSC_0385.sized

For one thing, the park has the best wildlife viewing I’ve ever experienced. On this trip, we saw buffalo, elk, coyotes, antelopes, deer, chipmunks, bald eagles, and big horn sheep. Most of these were in Yellowstone.

DSC_0655

DSC_0609.sized

DSC_0721.sized

DSC_0530

DSC_0550

At one point, a huge herd of buffalo crossed the road right in front of us. The bulls sounded like bears growling.

DSC_0720.sized

Speaking of bears, there were signs of them everywhere. For example, these claw marks:

bear claws

Yellowstone has a varied landscape that includes forests, waterfalls, plains, a huge lake, and even its own Grand Canyon.

DSC_0499.sized

DSC_0493.sized

Because of all the volcanic activity, the earth was all kinds of cool colors, red, pink, yellow, orange.

DSC_0516_001.sized

DSC_0506.sized

The fall foliage was colorful too.

DSC_0384.sized

DSC_0687

And of course there were the geysers. PART 2 HERE.

Essay: The Joy and Frustration of 3D Printing Your Kids’ Toys

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 12:15 pm on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

????????????????????????????????

I have an essay on Parent.co today! It’s about 3D printing, something I talk about a lot on here. In particular, it’s about 3D printing toys for our son Gideon. Right now, we’re printing him stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Here’s more about that: Read The Joy and Frustration of 3D Printing Your Kids’ Toys

Book Review: Moonglow By Michael Chabon

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 12:04 pm on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

51gYHAzvK+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Check out my review of Michael Chabon’s elegantly structured novel Moonglow on KQED.

Article: How Reality TV Made Donald Trump

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 11:14 am on Friday, November 18, 2016

how-reality-tv-made-donald-trump-possible-1479486411-crop_desktop

I have an op-ed up on Vice! Check out How Reality TV Made Donald Trump President.

A sample:

We should learn from this election. It’s imperative that we look at who and what we’re elevating in the form of harmless entertainment. Even when television seems silly and trite, the images and messages it sends to viewers are influential. We need to question whether we want the entertainment we put on TV to become, over time, mirrors of our society as a whole. I, for one, don’t want to live in a nation of Real Housewives.

More Here.

Wildacres Writing Residency

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 9:00 am on Friday, October 28, 2016

In September, I attended a writing residency at Wildacres Retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a terrific experience. I can’t say enough about Wildacres and the people who run it. They help all kinds of artists by giving them the gift of time and peace to work, which is valuable and important work.

For my residency, I got to stay in a cabin and write for a week. There was no Internet, cell phone, or distractions. I wasn’t sure if I would like that. I imagined being lonely and restless, but I was delighted to find that I’m a natural hermit. In fact, half the time I didn’t even leave the cabin to go to meals. (Don’t worry–I stopped at a grocery store on the way there.)

Here’s the outside of the cabin:

cabin

The inside had a full kitchen, a king-sized bed, and a table where I spent most of my time working:

desk

I also worked on the deck until I figured out that North Carolina bugs really like to bite me.

porch

It was inspiring to be in a forest, especially since my book is set in a forest. I saw so many animals while there. I saw a bear, first of all. (I was in my car.) I saw a doe and a fawn. I saw tiny owls, butterflies that looked like fall leaves, lizards with blue tails, and the strangest spider ever, the Arrowshaped Micrathena.

47635544.micrathenaspideroutstanding1

The Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the most beautiful places in the United States and I plan to keep going back. While at Wildacre, I took tons of pictures of the Blue Ridge Parkway, all while singing this song to myself.

DSCN0903.sized

DSCN0945.sizedDSCN0892.sized

DSCN0898.sized

Book Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 9:33 am on Monday, October 24, 2016

BritBennett-768x432

I have a new book review up on KQED. This time I’m looking at The Mothers, a debut novel by Brit Bennett. Check it out here!

Kitchen Cabinets In

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:01 pm on Sunday, October 23, 2016

How did you spend your weekend? Aside from a hike in the local park, I spent it putting my stuff away in my new kitchen cabinets. Here they are, along with the muscular harvest of the last of the 2016 Meyer lemons.

kitchen2

Still to do: install a new light, paint one wall, tile the backsplash, replace the blinds, replace the faucet, and–most importantly–put in the countertop. We’re going with black quartz.

It’s a lot, but for the moment, I’m just happy to have cabinets again.

Majestic Humboldt

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 8:43 am on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I’m writing something based on Humboldt County, where I grew up, and where I go fairly frequently. So I took a road trip there earlier this year and spent some time in the old-growth redwood forests.

DSC_0145_001.sized

Majestic, huh?

A few more pictures.

DSC_0174_002.sized

DSC_0150_001.sized

DSC_0164_002.sized

DSC_0132_001.sized

This is the kind of forest I grew up with. I saw so many beautiful places this year, but these forests continue to be in the top.

Here’s What’s Going On With Me

Filed under: Personal — Administrator at 9:30 am on Monday, September 26, 2016

10154219_635359469852374_3547932485844161894_n

* Along with several other writers, I answered this Q&A question on Howlarium: How does your partner handle those periods when you need to be in your head, be alone to talk to yourself, to lament the latest publisher’s rejection, or otherwise tend to your creative life—how does your partner make room? Interesting talk about it can be difficult for other people to understand the weird needs of writers. Click to read more.

* I went to a writer’s residency in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a great experience. I’ll write a post about it soon.

* I took a trip to Humboldt County to research something I’m writing. It was a great experience. I’ll write a post about it soon.

* My novel was a finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

* Kyle was on a podcast talking about computer security.

* He’s also Chairperson of the Advisory Board for Purism, which I think sounds so fancy.

* We’re remodeling our kitchen. You guys. It’s stressful. Right now our kitchen looks like this:

kitchen

* We’re about to go on a 12-day RV trip. We’re renting an RV from Cruise America and driving through Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland.

Cruise-America-Motorhome

* When we get back, Kyle is going to Amsterdam to speak at the O’Reilly Security Conference. I don’t get to go, but that’s okay. I’ve traveled plenty this year.

What’s going on with you?

Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency

Filed under: Joy's Work — Administrator at 9:20 am on Tuesday, August 2, 2016

In June I went to the Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency. It was the first year they had the residency, which was located on Cuttyhunk Island, near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. I’d never heard of it before.

Along with 14 other writers, I studied with the author Paul Harding. I also wrote about 50 pages in my new book. We stayed at The Avalon, a lovely old inn. Here’s a picture:

avalon

The residency was a new experience for me. It made me think a lot about class and how its intersection with literary fiction fundamentally blocks our ability to achieve diversity in literature. Part of my reaction was due to the fact that Cuttyhunk Island is so clearly a place for rich people. Of course, it’s a beautiful place.

town

boat

I didn’t get a decent picture of my room, so here’s one from the Avalon website.

edbc03_571712ba32a94b8fa477de8f226e5ed4

My room had a balcony where I did a lot of writing. The view from the balcony was also great.

view

view2

One night, there was a double rainbow.

rainbow

The beaches are rocky and loaded with wild roses.

roses

East Coast insects hate me. I was stung by a wasp, bitten by spiders, and devoured by mosquitoes. This never happens in California.

path

There were ticks everywhere. I went down this path, and when I came out the other side, seven ticks were crawling up my legs.

Gross.

I keep thinking I want to move to New England, but it’s really not for me. It was nice to visit though.

berm

Back in New Bedford, I went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where Herman Melville set part of Moby-Dick. It was a fascinating, weird place. I took pictures with my phone. This is my favorite.

« Previous PageNext Page »