Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's All Fun And Gobs Until Someone Has A Book Manuscript To Finish. Part II

To paraphrase Fran Lebowitz, book manuscripts aren't like book reports. You can't finish them the night before they're due.

So, what have I been up to, you might be wondering, if I haven't been busy putting the spit and polish on my current book's last few pages? A lot, actually, as this rare-self-approved photo to the right will testify. I'll get to that in a sec, but can I just say that while it's always flattering when someone wants to take your photo, the resulting images can sometimes be, decidedly, not. (Impromptu pix shot by the lovely and talented Jun Belen not included.)

So. It's been another fun gob-filled summer here in San Francisco as street food festivals and all around street eat hijinx ensued. When I wasn't standing in front of the 20 quart Hobart, I was seated behind the laptop. On a few fine days in June, friend and fellow food writer Tamara Palmer and I packed up our rigs and drove down the coast to drink booze-laced coffee and work and write from the stucco-sided perch known as the Moss Beach Distillery. As we tapped away at our duties on our respective Macs, I told her I was fantasizing that she was Joan Didion to my John Gregory Dunne, coast side in Malibu, circa 1976. Geographics, subject matter, politics, and orientations aside, of course. The only thing that was missing from the scene was our matching Royal typewriters, Fleetwood Mac on the soundtrack and some, well... Hmm. As memories now serves, seems we had everything we needed.

What else has been going on? Well, a little thing called Off The Grid that started at Fort Mason in early July had turned into a big deal by month's end, and in August, La Cocina's much maligned Street Food Festival from last year came back and this time around showed everyone where the wolf shit in the buckwheat - to use one of my Dad's favorite expressions to describe silencing the naysayers and nudrugs. (That is Slovak for, "pants," but as best as I can translate it as my Dad intends it, it refers to someone who is a stick-in-the-mud. For now I'll just say it's all in his delivery and move on.) So, yeah, lines were a little less long at the La Cocina gig, but the food was just as good, maybe even better as numerous other vendors were added to the event's menu this time out. (See photo above, ahem.) And then there was the reprise of the Eat Real Festival in Oakland where several very kind people wished us well on surviving the legendary first year in business. My favorite comment though came from the guy who said "Last year you were walking around holding a tray of your gobs. This year you've graduated to your own booth. Congratulations!" (Fair is fair, and I have to give thanks as well as some love to Good Foods Catering and The Creme Brulee Cart for helping out with logistics in the case of both of those events.)

Now that my "What I Baked On My Summer Vacation" recap is over I should get back to the business at hand and finish this book. Versions of the cover art have already been coming into my inbox. Phone calls about serif versus san serif fonts, and the use of color (and photos) are now in progress. My wonderful publisher and editor at Bloomsbury USA are doing their parts, so I need to step up and deliver mine.

All of this of course has to happen just as summer has finally arrived here in the Bay Area. So if I'm not on the grid, look for me pool side, somewhere, wrapping up the rest of my manuscript as if I were back in third grade, retelling why "Where The Red Fern Grows" made me cry.

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