ah, life is using me like a speedbag. been too tired and too overwhelmed to check in here, and for that my apologies. like a child's balloon set free by the little hand, i rise and sink with each new prevailing force: the uplift of praise and attention for the book, the sinking dread of waiting (will the Times ever notice?). i feel alternately blessed in the extreme for being here and being this close to being able to share one of my great loves with a large number of people (yes, darlings, read good things!) but on the other shut out of the inner sanctum, shibboleth-less, not able to overcome nepotism and better networkers and all the rest. First i compare myself to my savvy New York friends and i think that of course i could never succeed; i bemoan my bucolic roots, my lack of this and that and the other. then i remember those roots and think how happy almost anyone from my highschool would be to be in my shoes, how surprised they'll be at the 25th reunion, and how fortunate i've obviously been to get this far. i said to a friend the other day that i should write the word "grateful" on post-its and put them all over my apartment, office desk, messenger bag, etc., just to remember where i am and what i've been able to do and how full the glass really is.

the stack there, of course, are the 50 books in B on the B. it was A.J. Jacobs' idea to stack them; he did it with his encyclopedias following his magisterial reading of them all for The Know-It-All. i had them like that in my apartment for a few weeks; they're almost as tall as i am, and it felt nice seeing them as a daunting tower, rendered entirely familiar.

was interviewed on NPR today for Weekend Edition. Leann Hanson asked me what i'm reading, and i answered Dickens' nonfiction (as i say on my new website,, right now The Uncommercial Traveler. as i told her, he would read things in the news that interested him and travel out to those places just to poke his nose around, tell the story, document all the great stuff in life that interested him. as always, his incredible lust for life shines through, his ability to relate and appreciate all manner of (good) people, his inexhaustible wit, and the consummate charm of his perceptions and prose. in today's parlance, it's a little like a blog, and as the world's greatest serial writer ever, Dickens would have been the finest blogger of all time. i'll be typing up some of his quotes on Twitter (, but maybe i'll collect them here soon.

ok, so tired i might collapse. woke up at 2:30 this morning from stress and went straight to work. will write again soon -- and will announce when the NPR piece will air. for now i don't know.

affection to all.