LitPark Summer Vacation '07! And introducing link-to-Tommy-Kane contest winner, Laura Benedict!

by Susan Henderson on June 1, 2007

*To read or add to the 160 comments on this post, click here. And thanks for visiting.*

Steve the dog on summer vacation.

LitPark goes on summer vacation beginning today, and I have a few things to wrap up before my link-to-Tommy-Kane contest winner, Laura Benedict, gets a moment to shine.

Some interesting end-of-the-season stats: The single search phrase that brings the most people to LitPark is “Daniel Handler.” And if people didn’t spell and mispell his name in so many ways, the winner would be “Peter de Seve.” The photo that brings the most people to LitPark is Josh, half-in-drag. The highest number of clicks to LitPark come from my MySpace page and second from Neil Gaiman’s blog. Some of the creepiest people find LitPark in their search for Ritchie‘s street address. And the spam filter has bagged over 4,000 porn links.

Oh, right, my answers to the Questions of the Week (I’ll keep it short today): My phobias are snakes and very small spaces. This seems to include sleeves, which is why I’m almost always in a tank top, even in the winter. Favorite Hendrix tunes are Crosstown Traffic and Little Wing.

Thank you to everyone who lurks and plays here, and particularly to those who answered the Question of the Week: Simon Haynes, Nathalie, lance reynald, Colin Matthew, amy, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, PD Smith, Michael D. Williams, Alexander Chee, Richard Cooper, Lori Oliva, Betsy, Aurelio, Nicole, Kimberly, Rachna Vohra, Alexi Lykissas, Robin Slick, Anneliese, Laura Benedict, Lee, Ric Marion, Michael, Stephanie Friedman, Gail Siegel, A.S. King, bruce bauman, james spring, Mark Bastable, Sarah Bain, billie, Carolyn Burns Bass, and Jody Reale. And to Tish Cohen for hanging out with us.

I’m off for the summer – to Montana (to see my brother) and France (just because). Mostly, I’m finalizing my book for St. Martin’s while Mr. Henderson is building me the coolest office ever – you have to go through my wisteria tunnel to get to it! I’ll leave the comments open so you guys can hang out here or post announcements as you like. Have a great summer. Write lots. And play lots. xo

Okay, here’s Laura. Her piece is brilliant, but you’ll find that out soon enough. (And thanks to Pinckney for doing the html on this one. And then thank you even more hugely to my O. Henry award-winning webmaster, Terry Bain, for translating that code to something Mac-friendly!)




Meet Howard Richard Baugh, my grandfather. Born in 1904. A civil servant, stamp collector, constant reader, diabetic, yellow-dog Democrat. Certainly not a murderer. I wont say that he was a peaceful man because I remember him angry, often, mostly over baseball and politics or the lateness of dinner. Though he was always gentle with me.


I never set out to write about anyone in my family. They are too tender, too charmingly insecure, and I dont want them angry with me. Maybe I thought that my grandfathers being dead made it okay. Maybe.



Amanda Cockrells spring writing workshop at Hollins University a few years back was about writing from place, something Id done frequently, but unconsciously. So I wrote about the first place I knew: the house I was born into, where I lived the first two years of my life with my mother and grandparents while my father was overseas.



This is how the house lives in my dreams: I dream of its basement, of the shelves and shelves of canned goods stacked behind cracking window shades hung to keep the dust from them, of the well-swept concrete floor where my mother said she roller-skated as a child, though I can hardly imagine anyone wanting to play down there, of the off-season clothes hanging like human shadows in zippered bags from the ceiling. I dream these thingsreal things that I knewbut there is something else, a dream-thing: the secret room at the bottom of the stairs.


I was, perhaps, ten the first time I had the dream. My grandmother leads me down the stairs to show me the door, and though she doesnt say anything, I know that its important. There is a hallway behind the door, and three rooms. The rooms are identical, painted a peaceful blue, each with a single, white bed over which hangs a large crucifix. My mother is in one room, lying on the bed with her eyes closeddead or sleepingand my grandmother shows me herself lying in the second room. Neither of us is afraid, and I am unsurprised. But I know what is waiting in the third room: the bed is empty, but I know it is for me.


Is it any wonder that I would write about this house that lives so vividly inside me? My grandfather is a part of that place, inseparable from it. My grandmother, too.



They puzzled me. They ate almost every single meal together. But they slept in separate bedrooms and spent most of the day apart: he went to the library, the post office, the grocery or to whatever discount store had something useful on special. When he returned, he would write down every single penny spent in a ledger. My grandmother? She cooked, she read, she watched soap operas, she cleaned. Sometimes she went to bingo, taking me with her (beginning when I was five or six) to the smoke-filled church hall where she would give me a single card to play.


But there was tension, and isnt it always tension that motivates us? There was a distance between them, something that went unspoken. I didnt find out until I was in my thirties that my grandmother had been married before, to a young man who died when his appendix burst after being sent home from the doctors office, undiagnosed.


Everything Id ever wondered about my grandparents fell into place with this piece of information. I cant know what their relationship was really like. Perhaps they had resolved her past between them, early on. Perhaps they were just exhausted from my grandfathers raucous snoring. Perhaps it was the lack of air conditioning in the house. Perhaps it was all in my head. But the tragic/romantic explanation appealed to the drama queen in me.



What better way for me to make sense of their story than by making it my own? My first efforts at fictionalizing that ineffable tension were weak. Im not good at literary nuance, that artful play of language that telegraphs emotion rather than broadcasting it. I need the broad stroke: nascent fears become murderous impulses, small irritations become grand jealousies. And so, H.R. Baugh, a man who liked control and who lived an ordinary existence filled with everyday frustrations, became a murderer. My grandmother, a smart, reticent woman became the repressed romantic heroine who was so desirable that she incited violence. I love that juxtaposition of reality and fantasy, the inherent conflict. I dont think my grandfather was truly capable of murderbut the anger and conflict I witnessed (or imagined) as a child lodged somewhere deep in my brain. A writers brain makes some startling rationalizations.


It took six major revisions before In A White House, a story of domestic discomfort written for a literary workshop, became The Erstwhile Groom, a story of broken hearts and multiple murders. It was a turning point for me, an acceptance of my vocation as a thriller writer. It is a gentle pieceas murder tales go. As I wrote in my regular myspace blog recently, my current writing is populated by rougher characters: the angry heroin addict with a thing for his sister, the childless woman whose grip on reality is tenuous at best, the twin succubi, the faded rock star who slides, effortlessly, into murderous madness. But I think I would have to draw the line at putting twin succubi in the same scene with a character who bears even a slight resemblance to someone I loved with my childish heart. The Erstwhile Groom will appear this summer in Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine, a wonderful magazine of short stories featuring mystery and murder, but very few incest-driven heroin addicts.


I dont think Im finished with my grandparents, or their house. I sure hope they dont mind.


Laura Benedict’s debut novel, Isabella Moon, will be published in September by Ballantine Books, with a second thriller to follow in 2008. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queens Mystery Magazine and a number of anthologies. In October, Press 53 will publish Surreal South, a short story anthology she co-edited with her husband, Pinckney Benedict. For the past decade, she has also reviewed books for The Grand Rapids Press (Michigan) and other newspapers. She lives with her family in rural southern Illinois, a lonely, enchanted sort of place that offers excellent inspiration for writing thrillers. Visit her at, or read her regular blog on her MySpace page.

{ 159 comments… read them below or add one }

Margy June 1, 2007 at 1:26 am

Oh, Susan! Thank you for this wonderful peek at Laura and her life. Have a great vacation– we’ll keep the teeter-totters warm and hold a good swing for your return.
And to YOU, dear Laura, this was so FUN! It’s always enlightening to learn an author’s influences and the backstory that gives them their unique voice, but even more lovely when it’s someone you know and truly like. You were a gorgeous baby, are a gorgeous person, and I wish you all the luck in the world with Isabella Moon.


Myfanwy Collins June 1, 2007 at 9:23 am

Great essay, Laura. I enjoyed it very much.

Susan, have a wonderful, relaxing summer. Your new office sounds perfect.


Kimberly June 1, 2007 at 10:13 am

We have the same fave!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 (Little Wing, for those of you who missed it!)

Susan, you’ll be missed this summer! I’m forever grateful to ‘She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’ for introducing me to Mr. H and thereby you (& Green-Hand and Bach-Boy) and consequently your amazing talents and continual inspiration!

Laura, a beautiful essay for sure! Oh, I can’t wait to hit Amazon and ordering my summer reading list and adding yet ANOTHER LitPark regular to it (even if Isabella Moon will actually be on the Autumn order…) YAY!

My summer blessing to all of you is this: May it be a constant 72-degrees and breezy in your brain!


Anneliese June 1, 2007 at 12:48 pm

I chuckled along with different bits and bobs “hanging like human shadows,” but you made me LOL at the “drama queen,” followed by your baby picture.

Thank you for that.

Ever since I got my dog, and find myself out at all hours to take him for his business, I feel the allure of thriller writing. I see things that were never seen during the usual daylight hours in the neighborhood – going between my car and the front door. Now I see a lady who gets behind bushes and stoops – what’s she doing there? And a man, once a month, walks around the big apartment complex tossing handfuls of something into the bushes – what’s up with that?

Anyhoo – just wanted to respond that this was a fun read.

Thanks and Happy Summer to All!


Laura Benedict June 1, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Welcome to my life, Anneliese! Doesn’t the guy tossing things into bushes just make you think of Hitchcock’s/Cornell Woolrich’s “Rear Window?” It’s a whole novel right there! I’m so glad you laughed. It was fun to write–though I had anxiety dreams last night that my mother would hate it….

Thanks, Margy, Kimberly, and Myfanwy for giving it a read. Though I have to draw the line at “gorgeous,” Margy. I was as bald as an egg until I was three.


Susan Henderson June 1, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Laura – This is just a fabulous piece and I have a lot to say about it, and will once I come out of my fog. I missed my first train back from the city last night and had to catch the 1:41. People are different at that time of night. At 4-ish, when I got home, I had to walk 7 blocks from the station. I’m so so so tired and trying to type in the writing I did yesterday in between conferencing and socializing.

I’m a little nervous about mentioning all the great people I spent time with yesterday because I don’t like leaving people out and I can’t possibly name everybody. But…. I spent a nice long time with Robin Slick, finally met her son (the great Adrian Belew drummer), and lots of time with Tish Cohen and Patry Francis and Bella Stander (we all had African fusion dinner together). Talked with Miss Snark and Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Carolyn Burns Bass and Renee Rosen and Mark Bastable and Jessica Keener and Jason Boog and Robin Grantham and A.S. King and Mark Sarvas and Budd Parr and Dan Wickett and Darrin and the man who was once Mad Max Perkins. I said hi to Michael Cader but he was so cute I got nervous and ran away.

Tonight’s the last night of Chinese school until summer break. Wheee! I owe lots of people mail, and I’ll get to it. I have to finish this chunk of edits first and thanks for understanding.


Susan Henderson June 1, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Oh, hey, MySpace people. Speaking of Neil – there’s now a MySpace page for his movie, STARDUST, coming soon with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Claire Danes. It would be nice of you to “friend” STARDUST:

I’m going to try to link the trailer. We’ll see if it works. And remember – the book is always better.

Stardust Trailer

Add to My Profile | More Videos


tommy kane June 1, 2007 at 7:27 pm

I want to thank everyone who linked me. You are all a great bunch of people. This is one of the best on-line communities around. Plus you are all so smart and of course we are all lucky to have Susan.


Laura Benedict June 1, 2007 at 8:34 pm

The trailer works great. I can’t wait to see this film–what a visual feast!

Tommy Kane, you are delightfully pithy.


Susan Henderson June 1, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Hmmm. Well, at our last Chinese class, we found out there’s two more classes to go. This is kind of how my head’s been since I got my book edits.

Margy, Myf, Anneliese, thank you.

Kimberly, you haven’t been over since our February global warming bbq, have you? We’ll have to fix that.

I like you, Tommy Kane. I’m glad you’re here.

Laura, Neil has 3 movies coming out this year, and I’m even more excited about the other two: Beowulf (he did the screenplay adaptation) and Coraline (which is a freaky little book, and the guy who animated Nightmare Before Xmas is doing it). I’ll bet movie folks come calling for your book, too.


Laura Benedict June 1, 2007 at 10:47 pm

Ack. Beowulf. I have adopted it as my own personal spiritual/ancestral history: the tale of the really angry blonde people. Seamus Heaney’s translation is a miracle and all others should be banned as methods of high-school torture. And Coraline. I may swoon, right here.


Susan Henderson June 1, 2007 at 11:23 pm

Heaney’s translation is an absolute masterpiece. I’m the one in the bookstore who sits on the floor in the corner with every single translation of a book turned to some very particular passage, and I go back and forth between them with my strong opinions. And most translations fail somewhere – they have to – you preserve the poetry and rhythm and it costs you the layered meaning, and so on. I love Robert Fagle as a translator. And was it Merwin who did Purgatorio? Someone did the most phenomenal translation of Dante, and I can’t think of who it was. Anyway, this is me procrastinating typing in my notes because I wrote them too small all around the edges of the paper so I have to keep turning and turning it. One very last tangent: I saw Heaney read in NY (at that big library that looks like a museum) a couple of years ago, and when he read “Digging” (the one about potatoes) – God, and with his accent – my legs went to jelly. You’d have thought I was at a Beatles concert.

Okay, back to work. Glad to know another geek. Don’t get me started on Virgil.


lance reynald June 2, 2007 at 12:03 am

oh wow…I mean WOW!

I love my family in ways only a writer can, but I’ve not yet thought of pushing the limits that far…
now the mind reels… (insert the writer staring above desk at a few family photos, wondering.)

and some interesting recent events in Lance-land may land him spending considerable time with family in the near future…that and I need a break.

still considering hitching my way to Montana.

Laura- BRILLIANT piece of writing.

Wondertwin- all my best to you for the Summer, I’m deadly jealous of the wisteria tunnel. We have to find some time to regroup soon, but I’m diving deep into the cave for a while; fear not….I have flares.

Have a great summer everyone; and whatever you do….write it out!!


Susan Henderson June 2, 2007 at 9:03 am

I’m glad you have flares, Wondertwin. And don’t forget the Reese’s. You don’t want to find yourself in a cave without Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Thanks, Janet, for sending me these photos from Saturday.

Nancy, Maddy, me, Mr. H, Ritchie, Candy, Kathy’s hands

Usually around 3 or 4am, people start to sit around in a circle and pass a guitar around. I like to be uncooperative because I only sing in the shower. Mr. H brings his own guitar because he plays flamenco, which involves a lot of tapping and banging on the wood, and he doesn’t want to hurt Ritchie’s guitar.

me, Mr. H, Candy


Robin Grantham June 2, 2007 at 11:23 am

Summer without Susan and LitPark — as if it weren’t already hard enough to write while trying to avoid squirt gun crossfire and sunburns. Don’t they have Internet in France?

Just kidding. I hope you have a wonderful summer that includes at least one squirt gun fight (but not at the airport).

It was so nice to meet some of you in person at Backspace. I’m feeling like a very lucky woman today. Having books in my life is wonderful enough, but to have books AND other people who love them and write them — it doesn’t get much better than that.

And now, if I can get myself off the computer, I’m going to wander the streets of New York, while thinking about roller skating in the basement, and the secret room at the bottom of the stairs. (We had one, too. We would fill it with coats and, when we weren’t too terrified, we’d jump into them. Good times.) Thanks, Laura.

I’ll try to be less of a lurker!


Gail Siegel June 2, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Laura – this was a lovely piece. The description of the basement is masterful.

Susan — great photos. You are so busy! You need a break. Have an exhilarating AND relaxing summer.

Beowulf. The Heaney translation is so great. At Bennington I wrote an essay about all the different names for the dragon. You just HAVE to read that book out loud. It’s irresistable.


Laura Benedict June 2, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Gail–Yes! My daughter and I read the Heaney out loud when we homeschooled. Irresistible is a great word for it. Thanks for liking the piece, Gail.

Robin–a real secret room? I’m so jealous. (It *is* hard to get off the computer, isn’t it? I think I’m addicted….)

Hi, Lance! I figure that the people close to me always assume they’ll see themselves in my work, so I might as well go ahead do it. I’ve always loved the saying: “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean there isn’t really something to be afraid of.”


Robin Grantham June 2, 2007 at 4:18 pm

Laura — It was at my aunt’s house. They rented, and the landlord had sealed off the door (at the bottom of a stairway) that opened to the basement. So, when you went halfway down the stairs and turned the corner — there it was. Dark, steep, musty . . . if there was a light, it never worked. It was a very old house with a winding staircase and three floors — in downtown Cleveland. The third floor was empty, so we’d pretend that all manner of beast and fiend lived up there.

As you see, I’m back on the computer. ;~)


Robin Slick June 2, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Laura, what a wonderful essay. Amazing.

Robin G., Susan, Lauren, Mark, Amy/Stella, Carolyn, Karen, Tish, Patry et al…I can’t believe I got to meet you and what a blast that was. I’m still on a high from it.

I don’t know that I’ll ever recover from the David Morrell lecture but between that and hanging out with all of you, I’ve been writing since daybreak and my poor husband just said to me, “Aren’t we eating today?”

No. No, we are not. I want to go back to the Algonquin and drink martinis and eat those weird little bar snacks and nothing else satisfy me. But he’s insisting on pizza so what can I do.

Susan, you don’t want to know what Eric said when I showed him the photo of you and Ritchie but I will tell you anyway. “Remember when I told you I really liked Sue and she was really pretty? Oh my god, Mom, she’s like in Scarlett Johanssen (sp?) territory.”

And he dug Ritchie’s boots. But said “Please don’t buy them for me – I know you and how you operate but I’m a Converse All-Stars kind of guy. Now if you’d like to buy me a couple new pair of them…”

Have a great summer, everyone.



Susan Henderson June 2, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Robin G, it was so great to finally meet you in real life and to have some time in the diner together.

And this is funny – Robin posted something about the conference on her blog, including this, in which she calls me “almost terrifyingly vulnerable.” It’s like I got a psychic reading or something. (Robin Slick, you got a psychic reading, too. How come no one ever describes me as “cool”?!)

Gail, you’re right, I need to slow down. I miss you. I could use another one of our roadtrips and talk-a-thons.

Robin, Tell Eric I love him forever. About the boots, that was the first time in a long time R didn’t wear bells on his boots. You’ll have to look out for the character in my novel with the bells tied to the shoelaces.


Laura Benedict June 2, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Robin G–Wow. Who could make up such a place? Isn’t it strange how it’s now this gift, just waiting in your mind to make whatever you will of it? *sigh*

Robin S–Thank you so much. And your son has excellent taste in women!


PD Smith June 3, 2007 at 6:02 am

Thanks Laura, what a wonderful piece! Thanks too for that super definition of ‘literary nuance’: “that artful play of language that telegraphs emotion rather than broadcasting it”. That’s a nice phrase. (And not the only one here I hasten to add!)

Enjoy your wisteria walks to your office Susan & to others at Litpark: have a great summer …


Robin Grantham June 3, 2007 at 9:17 am

Susan – Maybe you’re so cool that it wouldn’t be cool to say you’re cool. Have you thought of that? :~)

Laura – That’s exactly what I thought when I was writing that down. Well, more along the lines of “And why haven’t I used this somewhere?” Thanks for inspiring me to bring it back to the surface.

Robin S. – I think my hubby was a little overwhelmed by the Backspace fallout, too. You’d think he’d be used to me by now.

David Morrell gave me goose bumps. I was also happy I’m not the only one who has vivid daydreams. Now I can stop thinking of them as “hallucinations.”


Susan Henderson June 3, 2007 at 11:33 am

Thanks, Peter.

I’ve heard the most incredible things about David Morrell‘s speech, not just here. If anyone taped it and wants to link it here as an mp3 or youtube, go for it.

Kenny, are we still on for soccer if it rains?

Brian, you made me laugh so hard this morning! I won’t tell you which part.

Okay, back to my book…..


Laura Benedict June 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Peter–You’re so nice. Thank you!

Susan–This has been a blast. You have so many wonderful, generous readers. A thousand thank-yous for letting me be part of the fun.
I can’t wait to read the book, hear about your summer, and see what you have up your dainty sleeve for the fall!
(And I’m jealous of your wisteria bower/office already.)


Susan Henderson June 3, 2007 at 9:39 pm

I scored one goal today at soccer (big assist from Romanian Pete). Other than soccer, I’ve been working all day on “the difficult chapter.”

This is for Ken, Liesl, Chimamanda, and anyone else who might be interested. From the NewPages blog:

Call for Submissions: Narratives of Africa
a.magazine: nonfiction narratives of Africa — due to launch in 2007 — is the first exclusively nonfiction literary magazine dedicated to publishing Africa’s stories by writers from across the globe, and, most importantly, emerging and established writers who call the continent of Africa their home. a.magazine is published quarterly, available in U.S. bookstores and to subscribers worldwide.

Okay, back to my book.


Nathalie June 4, 2007 at 11:53 am

Nice story, Laura.
It seems that even if you had try to avoid placing your story in that specific house, it would have still come to haunt you.

Have a nice holiday Susan.
Enjoy it all. (where in France are you going ? The nosey froggy’d like to know.)


Susan Henderson June 4, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for fixing that glitch, t.

Laura, it’s been so great having you here and seeing how you work behind the curtain.

Nathalie, I’ll be in Paris some, and then we’re floating on the Luciole for a week with wine and olives and baguettes. I miss my pets something fierce when I travel. That’s the tough part.


sheryl monks June 4, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Well done, Laura. The dream is creepy (and wonderful) and reminds me of a dream my aunt recently shared where she walks into a room barely large enough to hold the coffin placed within it. She moves the coffin away from each of the walls so she can paint them. Crazy. Fabulous. Like your dream. Thanks for guest-hosting. Thanks, Susan, for sharing your space. Have a great summer. I’m jealous of your wisteria-covered secret writing world.


Susan Henderson June 4, 2007 at 9:09 pm

I just finished my novel edits. They were so hard. I had to hammer out one emotional scene after another and rebuild the ending after I’d torn it to bits. God, I’m crying like a baby.

Thanks to everyone who sent notes of support, thanks to those of you who watched me fall apart this week and didn’t leave me.

God, this was hard. I’ve been wanting to cry for days and haven’t had time. I’m making up for it now.


Nathalie June 5, 2007 at 2:58 am

Well done for the edits, Susan.

If you need tips about Paris, send me a note.


Susan Henderson June 5, 2007 at 6:24 am

Nathalie, thank you. I haven’t been to Paris in years and could definitely use a list of must-sees.

Conference photos are starting to come in. Someone sent me this teeny tiny photo. If anyone has the full-size version, I’d be happy to post, as long as everyone in the photo is cool with that. I’m second on the left.

Second on the left again. This is our panel, and we’re obviously listening to our moderator, Jeff Kleinman, crack us up. Renee Rosen, on the end, was the nicest surprise to meet. We share an editor. The others I already knew. Mark’s a crack-up, himself.

This photo comes from Carolyn, who posted a bunch of others in her MySpace picture folder.


Nathalie June 5, 2007 at 7:45 am


My favourite area in Paris is Le Marais (Start walking from Musee Beaubourg toward Place de la Bastille, because it hosts loads of old buidlings, boutiques, art galeries, restaurants, theaters and bars.
Oh and at least 2 nice tea shops (Mariage fr̬res, 30 Rue du Bourg Tibourg and Le Palais des Th̩s Р64 Rue Vieille du Temple)

And the isles (especially Iles Saint Louis) …

A few restaurants (In Marais)
A classic Brasserie: Boffinger (near Place de la Bastille)
3 rue Bastille

Le Dos de la Baleine
40 r Blancs Manteaux

A (tiny but excellent) vegeterian:
Le Potager du Marais
22 r Rambuteau (that’s near Beaubourg)

And plenty of alternatives anywhere…

Drop me a line if you have special queries, since I have no clue about what might interest you.


Susan Henderson June 5, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Nathalie, thanks so much for this. I’ll definitely use it!

And Oprah just picked Jeff Eugenides’ MIDDLESEX for her book club. Wow, this pick and the last are really good, and what a hell of a run Jeffrey’s having on his book.

I am NOT writing today! I feel great, and my mood is swinging back to (my) normal.

Josh, yes, I think so. I’ll email you. I’m many hundreds of emails behind. I’ll get to them tomorrow.


Susan Henderson June 5, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Sorry to make so many announcements, but for those still hanging out here, this is from Jill Gurr, a past guest on LitPark:

CNN has decided that another story about a man with tuberculosis should be aired tonight in our place.

Therefore, they have postponed the segment on Anderson Cooper 360 featuring Create Now! until next Friday, June 8, 2007. The program starts at 7:00 pm and repeats at 10:00 pm. Our segment will most likely be aired between 7:30 and 8:00 pm (and repeated between 10:30 and 11:00 pm), but please check your local listings for the exact channel and time. Tune in next Friday night to see some of the troubled youth whose lives have been changed as a result of Create Now! programs.

If some other newsworthy program takes our place again, please check the Create Now! website at for an update.




Susan Henderson June 5, 2007 at 6:47 pm

More good news for a friend and former LitPark guest. This is Bruce Bauman‘s news:

From the Hollywood Reporter…

NEW YORK — Warner Independent Pictures is closing a five-year deal to co-finance and co-produce up to 30 films with new production outfit Volume One.

The move comes as WIP, the specialty film division of Warner Bros. Pictures, looks to add films to its pipeline under new president Polly Cohen. Under terms of the arrangement — which will cover as many as 30 films over a five-year period, whichever comes first — the companies will co-finance and share ownership on the titles.

The companies are looking to jointly produce films in the $5 million-$40 million range. Financing on the projects is likely to be split evenly. Both companies will develop projects to bring to the venture.

New York- and Los Angeles-based Volume One, run by financier Dean Leavitt and producer Gina Resnick, is in the process of raising funds for its share of the alliance. The company is expected to have a strong presence at May’s Festival de Cannes as it ramps up the venture.

WIP declined comment on the deal. Leavitt did not return a call for comment.

Volume One, founded last year, is serving as an executive producer on Terry George’s dramatic thriller “Reservation Road” for Focus Features. The outfit also optioned “And the Word Was,” Bruce Bauman’s novel about a man’s struggle with tragedy.

Resnick’s producing credits include the indie films “Imaginary Heroes,” “Prey for Rock & Roll” and “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing.”

Leavitt previously served as CEO of wireless and payment services company U.S. Wireless Data.

Since founding Volume One, Leavitt has met with several indie distributors about establishing potential film-financing deals.


lance reynald June 6, 2007 at 3:24 am

Oprah is on a roll again isn’t she?
I’m gonna have to read Cormac when I finish with my muses, huh?

how about the grotto?

and, should I do a dispatch? The Grotto files?



lance reynald June 6, 2007 at 3:27 am

and if it still exists.

The Cafe Del Rio, Paris.

PBR, Coronas, awesome chimichungas.


Susan Henderson June 6, 2007 at 8:37 am

Lance! You poked your head out of the cave!

That Cormac book is really dark and rough, so just make sure that’s what you’re in the mood for. It will take you to some spooky places.

Let’s hope Cafe Del Rio didn’t go the way of Au Pied de Cochon. I’m definitely going to check out all these recommendations. I’m starting to wonder if I still remember how to speak French. I guess we’ll see when I get there….


Oh, and p.s., a word of warning. I almost lost my MySpace account yesterday for trying to attach a John Lennon song. Don’t mess with the Beatles, huh?

This is an old picture of the wisteria tunnel, two years old, I think, when I was just getting started with it. The door to my office is at the end of it. We’re doing electrics in there right now. Okay, I’m writing again today.


Susan Henderson June 6, 2007 at 11:14 am

God, I feel like I’m talking to myself here, but I just checked the stats and we’re still in the few thousand page views range, so I’ll post for those of you who are still here:

Robin Slick has a full-wrap of the Backspace conference over at her place.

And if you haven’t seen Tommy Kane’s today, you have to read the words on the portrait he drew. I can’t even tell you how hard I laughed at that fiesty little rant.


lance reynald June 6, 2007 at 2:20 pm

not talking to yourself….
I still peek in now and then



Carolyn Burns Bass June 6, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Shameless plug for Booking It in New York City, my plog post of Backspace and the amazing chat I had at BEA with John Elder Robison, author of LOOK ME IN THE EYE (an amazing person who writes candidly of his life with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism). John happens also to be the brother of Augusten Burroughs of SCISSORS fame.


Susan Henderson June 7, 2007 at 7:59 am

Carolyn, what a great summary of the conference on your blog!

Alex, wow. Who loves Alexander Chee as much as I do? He’s positively shining over on Brad Listi’s brilliant Nervous Breakdown.

Green-Hand’s birthday is this week, and he wants sushi and pumpkin pie for the party. He has kind of a weird stomach like I do. His comfort foods are lemons (including the rind), pickle juice, jalepeno peppers, raw cranberries, pomegranites, anything with olives or baked heads of garlic. It’s fun to go out to dinner with him because he’ll try anything. In China, he ate a bird’s brain. In preschool, he wrote on some little paper that his favorite food was lumpfish caviar. He likes anchovies on his pizza. When he goes to birthday parties, he never eats the cake.

Next time we’re at open-mic, I’m going to see if I can record him doing Blackbird or Tangled Up in Blue. He’s a tiny little guy with a lot of confidence. He could care less if he sang on key.

Not to leave out his big brother, Bach-Boy does a mean version of Martha My Dear, but it’s hard to get him to play it live. He’s tough on himself when he makes mistakes. He had to do some American Idol like project at school so Mr. Henderson made this fun little video of him doing Let It Be. That’s Nelson Mandela’s prison number on his t-shirt.

Bach-Boy singing Let It Be

Obviously I’m having withdrawal issues with my blog.

Thanks to Jodee Stanley and Dan Wickett for linking to LitPark!


Aurelio June 7, 2007 at 1:29 pm

1) Laura, thanks for sharing your path to finding your path – I love that you made your granddad a murderer. (Usually the stories that spring to my mind entail me murdering my family.)

2) Sorry I’ve been an infrequent visitor to LitPark lately, Susan and everyone. (I’m being a good little writer-monk.)

3) Susan, have breakfast on the rooftop cafe of the Printemps department store in Paris at least once. The view from there is amazing, and although it’s “cafeteria” presented food, it’s quite fresh and high quality.

Happy summer everyone!

4) I know I’m a day late and a dollar short, but, Tommy Kane, I’m gonna link you on my site links soon too. I promise.


Susan Henderson June 8, 2007 at 2:06 pm

I just had the greatest talk with my editor this morning and all I can say is PHEW. I love her. Before the love, though, I was a wreck and phoned poor Ellen at 10 last night for therapy. I owe you.

Aurelio, I’m definitely hitting that rooftop. And thanks for linking Tommy. He’s doing car talk today so you should fit right in, motor geek. (The Hendersons, by the way, have a very sensible, used Volkswagon Golf. Golf? Gulf? Who knows? The important thing is it’s dark blue.)

Wednesday in the city:

Wednesday, June 13th (8pm), I’m going to see my friend, Pia, read from her new collection at the Happy Ending lounge. Happy Ending is my favorite place to do readings, but even better when I don’t have to take the mic and can just relax and listen to good writing. Antoine Wilson (who hangs out at LitPark now and again) will be reading, too. And Jack Pendarvis, whom I’ve never met, but I hear he’s a funny guy.

Thanks for linking me, Alex!


Kimberly June 9, 2007 at 12:37 am

Susan – take a moment to visit two other places in Paris:

In the 11th Arr right around the corner from the Opera/Bastille, make sure to eat at Cafe de l’Industrie: tiny, quiet inexpensive and the BEST “l’oignon gratinee” around! (and you’ll easily avoid the horrible tourists across the street from the opera house) But make sure you go to the original – I guess it got popular since the last time I was there (sigh – too long) and they’ve expanded.

There’s also a fab farmer’s & flea market right there on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir (or was it Beau Marchais?) Don’t worry, it’s HUGE. You’ll find it! Great place for gorgeous and inexpensive jewelry!

And as for local shopping? Les Filles dans la Vanille (there are a few stores around the city – one not too far from La Bastille, actually) Adorable French fashion that you can actually wear!!! 🙂

For thrifting: La mouton a cinq pattes (several around the city) and for museums – I’ll take the Picasso or Musee d’Orsay over the Louvre every time!

The particular shade of green really compliment ‘mes cheveaux rouge’ at the moment, so I’ll just have to happily wish you a wonderful trip and suppress, suppress, suppress! 🙂


Kimberly June 9, 2007 at 12:44 am

oops – meant “really DOESN’T compliment…”

(and I guess I got excited – didn’t really bother to proof)


Susan Henderson June 9, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Hey, I’m all about cheap jewelry! It drives my father in law crazy because he’s bought me diamonds and pearls and jade and emeralds, and the necklace I always wear is the one I got in China for 25 cents.

So, Kimberly, if you want to, I can ask folks here if they want to be a part of the “waxing interviews.” Do you want to spill? I know James Spring waxes so he can at least share his experience. Mr. Henderson has a women’s study prof contact for you.

Green-Hand and 6 or 7 friends (8? Maybe I should do a head count) are having a slumber party in the basement right now. He got his first Fender stratocaster today. He was playing Back in Black with no shirt on this afternoon and I was cracking up.


Kimberly June 11, 2007 at 12:06 am

Too funny…

I guess I could spill the news here about the new mini-doc I’m working on and see if there are willing candidates floating around on LitPark (although I assume most are writers who, like me, wouldn’t get in front of a camera for less than two years’ worth of mortgage payments…)

So – my question to the summer LitPark crowd is this:

Will you talk to me about waxing???

My current feature film, A PRETTY GIRL, is on hold for a while (our investors disappeared in April).

Some people would take that time to sit back, relax and enjoy the summer: drink a few too many cocktails at summer BBQs, spend lazy days finally catching up on all my back issues of the New Yorker in Central Park and working up the nerve to attend an open mike or two with my guitar and severely out-of-practice vocal prowess.

However, my pal I got this idea to make a short documentary. It’s called “Why We Wax” (for now) and we want to explore WHY women (and some men) choose to remove their (specifically) pubic hair and the social ramifications of being hairless “down there.”

We’re looking for a diverse group women and men to interview: all ethnicities, sexual preference and hirsutosity (did I just make up a new word to define what one’s personal hair level is?)

Don’t wax? We don’t care!!! We’re searching for a wide range of strong opinions. We’d also really like to make a point to include the LGBT point of view as well as straight men and 50+ year-old women; we don’t want to just hear from white women in their 20s and 30s – how boring!

We will be conducting interviews (each will run about an hour in length) in NYC throughout July and are hoping to have it complete by the end of summer.

We’ll throw it out to a couple of festivals and see where it goes! No pressure – we’re really doing this for curiosity and of course… loads of fun!

So let me know if you’re interested in answering a few questions on camera! Our only requirement is that you are willing to speak unmasked. And if you don’t want to do it, but you know someone who would be game to play with us… feel free to pass this on!

We’re still looking for cultural anthropologists/women’s studies professionals (in addition to Mr. H’s contribution), willing MDs or OB/GYNs and individuals who have intimate knowledge about waxing in the adult film industry, since we all know that what is first considered fetish is all-too-quickly ‘snatch’ed up (snicker snicker) by the fashionistas and turned mainstream.

Our e-mail for the project is and we’ll have our myspace page/blog up and running soon (code name: whywewax)


ps – this is absolutely no budget, therefore we can’t travel anywhere beyond the limitations of the LIRR, NJ Transit or MTA/Metro North for interviews – so if you live in the San Pornando Valley, sadly, we can’t interview you. 🙁


Susan Henderson June 11, 2007 at 6:03 am

Kimberly, I’ll stick a note on MySpace this morning and direct people to your note.

Thanks to PD Smith and Bella Stander for linking to LitPark. Bella and I hung out the other weekend, and she included some photos in her post. I’m on the left in both. The first one is me, Tish Cohen, and Jason Pinter, an editor at St. Martin’s.

The second one Miss Snark dodged out of in a hurry. Bella’s the tall one, I’m the one with my eyes half-closed and trying to squeeze into the photo. She identifies everyone else on her blog so go check it out if you can.

See you guys Wednesday at Happy Ending, if you’re there.


PD Smith June 11, 2007 at 8:03 am

Are you off to Paris? Or have I missed the boat & are you back already?

My tip for a Parisian café: Le Boulanger des Invalides Jocteur on the corner of the Ave de Villars and Bd des Invalides. Wonderful Parisian atmosphere…and of course cakes!

Hope the editing is not too stressful…


Susan Henderson June 11, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Hi Peter,

I’m going to France late July. Before that, Montana – and we’re doing the breaks (rattlesnake country) this year so I need to find my kids some high high boots.

Anyone else lose their breath when they clicked on Neil’s blog this morning?


Robin Slick June 11, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Ha ha – lose my breath? I had a full-fledged coronary.

Oh my god, do I have a waxing story, Kimberly. In fact, I have the waxing story to end all waxing stories. But do I have the guts to go on film and tell it? I’ve been going back and forth all day (yes, I know, get a life, Robin) and even written part of the story out though it’s forever, like, branded,in my brain.


Kimberly June 11, 2007 at 5:43 pm

oooh – Robin – you know you’ve got me curious now… 🙂


Robin Slick June 11, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Ha ha – I’m afraid I would steal the show, Kimberly.


Aurelio June 11, 2007 at 6:38 pm

I’ve always thought it dishonest to call that particular depilatory process “waxing.” It needs to be called “ripping.”

As in a “bikini rip” or “I got my back ripped.”

And before I’m asked, no, I’ve never gone there, never plan to. shudder


Nicole June 11, 2007 at 6:55 pm

Darn it! I’m in Northern California … I’d love to tell the story about the time I got my “ahem” waxed in the shape of a K. Yes … a K. Because I had a boyfriend who was in love with his own initials.

Or how a Brazillian means different things at different places and so this one time, just before leaving for Vegas, I was stripped entirely of my “ahem” and it was SUPER distracting for weeks and inordinately painful at the time. Moral of the story: ALWAYS CLARIFY Brazillian.

I’ve since gone the laser route, and next to getting LASIK it’s the best money I’ve spent on myself.

Further details about my cooch are available to any interested parties. 🙂


Susan Henderson June 11, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Okay, I’m laughing too much to even know what to type. I have a feeling this little documentary’s going to be a hit. And Robin, I’m applying all the peer pressure in the world: do it, do it, do it, do it! If I can do a reality tv show, you can sit in Kimberly’s most awesome apartment overlooking Central Park and drinking marga margue mar well I can’t spell them, but you’ll be drinking them, and as always, you’re at the top of your game when you’re telling embarrassing stories. So YES. And then, I suggest Kimberly do an East Coast v West Coast wax off so Aurelio and Nicole don’t feel left out.

Kimberly, click on the Eric Spitznagel link (in the list of interviews), and you’ll understand why immediately. If you want to be in touch with him, I’m happy to do introductions. If he frightens you, it’s okay. It happens to him all the time.

It’s always good to end on a Neil Gaiman note, so Robin, let’s just say I lied when I said I lost my breath. That was supreme understatement. And now I’ve just deleted a whole lot, all to maintain the reputation I have of offering a moderately wholesome blog.

That link again: (And don’t forget you can click on the photos to make them bigger. God bless!)


Kimberly June 12, 2007 at 12:49 am

Oh Nicole… how I would love to hear your story (I can’t even believe this is my new obsession!) In just the two short weeks I’ve let the cat (ahem) out of the bag, I’ve heard SO MANY STORIES!!! Nicole, did you know that have a design is now – trendily enough – called an “Australian” wax??? Gives “Down Under” a whole new meaning, eh?

So for the record, Rabin has agreed, and if pitchers of Margaritas are the truth serum of choice – then margaritas it will be! (I make the particularly lethal official “Margaritaville” margaritas (what else can you do when your home state is Florida and the state bird (should be) a parrot??? 🙂 (any other Parrotheads here?)

FYI – our MySpace is now live: Won’t you be our friend?


Kimberly June 12, 2007 at 12:53 am

Sue – I remember that interview! OMG! Hilarious!

And I promise to try from now on to proof more before clicking the “post comment” button

My apologies to RObin, and to those who abhor the misuse of parentheses!


Susan Henderson June 12, 2007 at 9:31 am

Kimberly, I fixed your myspace link so it’ll click over now. Boy, I sure didn’t know a lot of this. I feel like I’m back in junior high and nodding my head, pretending I’m in the know. You know?

Hey, did you know Green-Hand still refers to you as “my director”? Here’s little Green-Hand in rehearsal at the Bronx Opera – in honor of his birthday today.


Kimberly June 12, 2007 at 9:46 am

Are you serious??? “My Director?” I don’t know if I’ve ever had a more flattering title!

Happiest of birthdays to ol’ Green-Hand Henderson!


Susan Henderson June 12, 2007 at 12:58 pm


Under “etc.” today:

Dan Handler has a great piece called “Adjusted Income: A little money is actually a lot but a lot of money may not be much.” It’s from the weekend NY Times, on page 106 of the The Magazine. If anyone finds the article online, I’ll link it.

P.S. I know I’m still behind on mail. I’ll catch up tomorrow. The biggest problem is that I’m getting ready to close down the old account, so any mail that comes through there, I can’t actually respond to (it’s all disconnected on my computer) and have to cut and paste it into the new program. It’s a big pain, but I’ll catch up. Apologies if you’re waiting to hear from me.


Nathalie June 12, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Isn’t Tommy Kane’s story about the Hell’s Angels just wonderful ?

I would love to participate into Kimberly’s project but alas …
am stuck in blasted Rome.


Susan Henderson June 12, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Yes, wonderful. The stories. The drawings. The whole package.

Kimberly, can’t you travel to Rome to interview Nathalie?


Kimberly June 12, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Hm… for Nathalie, I would make an exception! 🙂


Carolyn Burns Bass June 12, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Oh, Susan, that photo of Green Hand is absolutely adorable. My son is graduating HS tonight and I’ve been going through withdrawls for a week.

I’d love for any LitPark playmates to drop in to my blog this week. I’m featuring three of our local Special Olympics athletes who are participating in the Southern California Summer Games this weekend. I’m hoping to get a ton of comments to forward over to them. If you have time, please stop by and cheer on these amazing young athletes.

Here’s the link:


Mike P June 12, 2007 at 8:56 pm

As I have been on the wane, perchance to wax?


Susan Henderson June 12, 2007 at 10:01 pm

If this is soccer-Mike-P, it is very funny to know it takes waxing to get you to play at LitPark. I’ll see you Sunday. If it’s some other Mike P, welcome!


Nathalie June 13, 2007 at 9:39 am

Oh and Susan, I did not loose my breath but did something wicked to my neck trying to figure out what he was reading… (those images don’t get nearly big enough – and they say that size is not important!)
And despite the pain, I still had a big fat smile on my face.

Really, Kimberly? 🙂


Kimberly June 13, 2007 at 11:39 am


Quando i certi soldi entrano nella mia borsa, sono a Fiumicino subito presto!


Susan Henderson June 13, 2007 at 12:03 pm

I’ll ask him what he’s reading. I’ll tell him that’s the reason we’re all clicking on his picture and trying to enlarge it.

Thank you for the link, Nathalie!


Nathalie June 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm

You’re welcome Susan.
I sent a note (the usual “ask Neil” way) asking what it was but since he has not yet updated his journal, I don’t know whether he intends to answer the question or not. If you ask him, maybe he will…


Susan Henderson June 14, 2007 at 6:53 am

Heard some amazing writing last night. Pia‘s story made me cry, wow, and it was soul-filling to spend time together. Antoine and Jack were awesome. Bought all three books; Pia’s is first.

Happy birthday to the lovely Kevin Dolgin.

This is us at KGB last year. From left: Roy Kesey, Pasha Malla, Grant Bailie, Darlin’ Neal, me, Kevin.

I feel a monster writing day coming on. (Thanks for the link today, Daryl!)


Susan Henderson June 14, 2007 at 2:21 pm

Well now, I just heard a song by The Specials and it reminded me of my favorite editor ever. I was talking to an agent about you the other day, TW. And I owe you mail. Give me till tomorrow.


Robin Slick June 14, 2007 at 5:14 pm

Susan, give up on not blogging. Trust me, it’s not working for any of us and it’s a pain in the neck to keep scrolling down 75 comments. Why not just start a new blurb called “I’m Not Really On Vacation” and let us all go to town with our various observations, remarks, shout outs, good news, etc. — including you.


Susan Henderson June 14, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Ha! Yes, I’m obviousy having issues with taking a break. But my inner obsessive-compulsive personality can’t post a blog that doesn’t have a strict theme and a related interview. So you’ll have to live with the never ending comment thread – if you do rss feed, at least the newest posts will be at the top, right?

Oh, so Robin, the boys have their set list, and if you want to see the show it should be 3 months from now. Here’s the set:

Come Together
A Day in the Life
Hey Jude
Get Back
Eleanor Rigby
Helter Skelter
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Strawberry Fields
Back in the USSR
I’m Only Sleeping
She Said, She Said
Yer Blues
Happiness Is a Warm Gun
Across the Universe
Good Day Sunshine
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Day Tripper

Pretty cool, huh? Say hi to my favorite drummer!


Kimberly June 14, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Will we ALL get an invite to that show??? Sounds AWESOME!!!


Robin Slick June 15, 2007 at 10:04 am

Ah, that list of songs brings back such memories.

My husband was the assistant music director for Rock School’s very first Beatle show and he really butted heads with Paul Green over that set list because after Paul asked Gary to provide him with one, Paul then tore it up and only used half of it. Gary is a purist and felt that the kids should only perform songs from the early albums as the Beatles themselves never toured behind songs that appeared on Sgt. Pepper, etc. He also felt that the songs on the early albums were way more suited to beginner students. Paul is not a Beatle fan…arghhhh….and it was hard convincing him to even do a Beatle show because he equates their music to “muzak”. Double arghhh…see Mark Bastable quote about the Beatles to know how I felt about Paul from that point on. This was back in 2000. Paul’s favorite band? Pink Floyd. Need I say more?

Anyway, as it turns out, the kids did a great job but if your branch is able to pull off Revolution, you may be the first ever as that’s the song dropped every time due to the kids’ failure to “get it”…out of tune vocals, oy…I went to a few of the early rehearsals in 2000 and when they did Revolution I had to leave the room.

Your other son isn’t doing AC/DC? Are they both doing Beatles now? Btw, I will get her name for you, but an English professor at Columbia just enrolled her son at your branch. I think her name is Elizabeth Willen but I’m not sure.


Robin Slick June 15, 2007 at 10:09 am

P.S. Kimberly and Amy are coming to the Belew show in NYC next Monday…I mean, Monday, June 25. Any way you and David and the kids can make it or will you already be in Montana?


Robin Slick June 15, 2007 at 10:21 am

P.P.S. Are we all rushing out today to buy Sue Hubbell’s “Shrinking the Cat”? I mean, if it’s good enough for Neil Gaiman to read under that tree…


Nathalie June 15, 2007 at 11:18 am

Well I went and rushed to buy Avram Davidson’s “Adventures in Unhistory” when he recommended it some months back and I enjoyed it immensely, so…
I am tempted.
I don’t take temptation. I like to have it safely out of the way. Buying the book night just be the thing.
An excuse to buy YET another book.


sheryl monks June 15, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Hi, LitParkers. Just dropping in to tell your friends about the Surreal South World “Book” Tour contest underway over at our MySpace. Laura and Pinckney Benedict have edited this truly remarkable collection of stories and poems, which won’t be released until October. But we’re sending one copy out into the world early. Check our blog for details and remember to enter every week. You may be one of the first people to get your hands on Surreal South — AND you could be the winner of the very first copy available anywhere!

Check it out

Good luck!

~sheryl, P53


Susan Henderson June 15, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Wow, Robin, and let me know if I should erase this, but I’m really glad PG is kind of hands off this school. The teachers are absolutely psyched about doing the Beatles, and it’s been an unbelievable experience so far, all one week of it. I think it’s a pretty impossible set list to call because there are so many songs I would have included. But I’m psyched about Happiness is a Warm Gun and Good Day Sunshine. They haven’t picked who’s on what song yet, although they heard Bach Boy play and immediately gave him Hey Jude.

They cancelled the AC/DC gig, so it’s all Beatles. Here’s some trivia – did you know Hell’s Bells is the only song I ever learned to play on the guitar? But I think it would have been hard to get my soccer pals out for that show. And who wants to damage the kids’ vocals.

Kimberly -Yes, you and Robin will get invites.

Nathalie – I love Avram Davidson. He’s one of the very few fantasy readers I’ll pick up – unless you count Italo Calvino. I never know what category he counts as.

Sheryl – Looking forward to reading that collection!

I’m off to walk with my neighbor. We’re going to talk in sign language the whole way, and hopefully I won’t walk into a tree – which has been done before. Having a great writing day and might even skip the last night of Chinese school to nail this chapter. Mr. H can take them. Bach-Boy’s getting all kinds of awards tonight – top of the class, first place in the speech contest, and some other one. Elements, maybe? Oh, Robin, we’re not free for that June date but if they’re playing in NY in August, I’ll move everything around to attend.

Ack, I’m late for my walk!


Kimberly June 15, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait!


Carolyn Burns Bass June 15, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Hey, y’all. If you subscribe to the LitPark comments feed, you’ll get each comment delivered into either your web browser or your Outlook inbox. Way cool way to stay in play.


Susan Henderson June 15, 2007 at 9:25 pm

All right, Carolyn! Remind me to hire you as my publicist when the book comes out.

Kimberly, I can’t wait either.

Okay, so Bach-Boy has been studying immigration at school. Earlier in the week his class went to Ellis Island, and next week his class will end the year with a big multi-cultural feast. He was assigned Scotland–and since he and Mr. Henderson read far too much Terry Pratchett, he’ll be bringing haggis to school for the party. Haggis is meant to be served in lamb stomach, but we’re doing the skinless version. And it’s meant to have lung in it, which is actually illegal in this country, so he’s getting an Americanized version of it, also without the whiskey chaser. Can’t wait to find out who eats it.


lance reynald June 15, 2007 at 10:17 pm

haggis? scotland?
still in school?

once you remove the lungs, skin and single malt what exactly is left? and is he doing this whole thing in a kilt?

so many details omitted.

and are you sure you’re not interested in taking all of this into a mid-summers Blog post, this comment thread is getting out of control.

I don’t know how to do that whole linky thingy in here, but I have a bit over at TNB this weekend…after that I’m dropping under the radar for a bit. Unless something comes up over here in the neverending thread…then you know I’ll be in again… unless I do end up on the Montana highways (very tempted)

and a note on the previous music refs; do go see the Hell’s Belles if they play your town, seems they’re on constant tour and it’s always an amusing show (even if like me you think you’re almost too old for it)…something for everyone in the all girl cover band.

ok, back to the cave…shoot some flares if ya need me.


lance reynald June 15, 2007 at 10:22 pm

darnit, see….broken link.

lets see if this works….


Kimberly June 16, 2007 at 11:39 am

Speaking of the All-Girl cover bands, while I was never much of a Zepplin fan,
I went to a benefit a few weeks ago, and Lez Zepplin ( is AMAZING!!! If you’re a Zepplin fan – I would highly recommend them (even if you’re not – they’re still a great night out!) Their 2007 Summer tour schedule has them playing all over the world – so catch ’em if you can! (They’re back in NYC at the end of July…)


Kimberly June 16, 2007 at 11:41 am

according to my spelling, I’m clearly not a ZeppElin fan… sorry folks.


Susan Henderson June 16, 2007 at 2:04 pm

One more reason to love Lance:

Funny band name, Kimberly.

And here’s Green Hand today, not wanting his picture taken. I also tossed a picture of Steve up on the main page because it seemed like it needed a picture.

We’re at this outside street fair kind of thing and I promised my friend I’d go see her son do some dance with this kid’s dance company. The kid is five. And all I can say is I was so seriously yucked out by the Jon Benet Ramseyness of these dances. The kids are all over makeuped. I could live with that. It was the nine year old girls shimmying in nurse’s outfits that came just to the underwear line. Something is really wrong with what we teach kids. There are so many other ways to dance.


Nathalie June 17, 2007 at 2:07 am

He is so cute!
He looks a little like he is humouring you with that “C’mon hurry up, let me get on with my life” faint look in his eyes..


Sarah Bain June 17, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Okay, question here for anyone who is listening…two actually…I need to buy a wedding present for my nephew who I never see and his wife-to-be whom I’ve never met. I want it to be a, ‘wow, that’s a perfect gift and they’ll still have it in 10 years or use it next month’ (no picnic baskets please) and finally, my neighbor’s daughter is off to college and turning 18 so…what’s the best wedding gift you ever got and the best going off to college, turning 18 gift?? (I am thinking about the complete shakespeare as she’s, rather literary for 18)??? Oh and finally, I need to spend a reasonable amount of money not the $250 platter to go with their china…


Kimberly June 18, 2007 at 12:19 am

I got the complete works of Shakespeare for high school graduation (the leather-bound, one-book version) and it came in quite handy when my crappy couch lost a leg… otherwise, I never cracked it. I like the Arden individual volumes much better.

However, I still use the 2-volume Shakespeare Lexicons (Dover) I also received to accompany it – 17 years later.

As for a wedding gift: to quote Bull Durham: “Candlesticks always make nice gifts”


Hope that helps.


Nathalie June 18, 2007 at 4:55 am

I insisted on a secret wedding to ensure we would not get gifts but our witnesses (we HAD to tell them) got us a certificate for a weekend in a spa,which is enjoyable and does not present any taste or storage issues.

For a going away present, I might suggest a cookbook of some sort (depending if she’s going to live on a campus – not sure if the students cook their own meals there – or outside, in a shared flat).
Or a practical thing that might ease her daily life.


Susan Henderson June 18, 2007 at 9:37 am

Thanks Nathalie!

Sarah – I always buy off the registry list but I try to get the one of a kind thing. I was going to tell a story about wedding gifts but I think the person in the story might read my blog so I’m going to zip it. Everyone needs the complete works of Shakespeare.

Played Father’s Day soccer in 92 degree weather. I had cuts on my foot and they were worse after the game. Then we all trudged through the poison ivy to see an animal that lives in the woods by our soccer field. That it was still a great afternoon shows how much I love my friends.

Oh, p.s. Thank you to all of you who linked me to your Wikipedia pages. I’ve noticed. And thanks to the Steven Barclay Agency for the link!


Susan Henderson June 19, 2007 at 11:52 am

Some announcements today:

Got a note from Doug Preston, who says the Monster of Florence program will air on Dateline NBC tomorrow (Wednesday, June 20, at 10:00 p.m.). Many of you know Doug has written extensively about this Italian serial killer, and if you click the Douglas Preston link, you can see the yelp he gave me a couple of years ago when he and his writing partner, Mario Spezi, were arrested and accused of being the killer. Anyway, Doug knows he’ll be featured prominently on this show, but doesn’t know in what way.

Other Doug Preston trivia: My “brother” is the voice on his audiotapes.

If you dig the artwork in the background, then you’d really love the shag carpeting!


More TV news from the person who doesn’t actually know how to turn her TV on – though it hasn’t seemed to matter: Mr. Henderson’s student, Havi, who is a stylist on The Today Show, will be modeling something on the show this Thursday.


There’s always a p.s. If you follow my MySpace pages, you can watch for little clues throughout the summer about guests I’ll be featuring. Okay. Back to writing.


Susan Henderson June 20, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Sigh. Now I really am talking to myself. Oh well. Thank you, Ninth Letter and Jason Boog for linking to LitPark!

And this just in:

[Bach Boy] has been named a Long Island Young Scholar of Mathematics by the Institute of Creative Problem Solving for Gifted and Talented Students at SUNY College at Old Westbury.

To qualify for this honor, the 75 students who were selected for the Institute’s three divisions, competed against 950 of the top ranking students nominated from school districts on Long Island. Selection by the Institute implies that a student is among the top one-tenth of one percent in math of all students on Long Island in his or her grade. Acceptances were based on five criteria: a rigorous entrance exam, an application form, school transcript, recommendation of student’s math teacher and a brief statement written by the student.


Kimberly June 20, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Wonderful! Major kudos to Bach-Boy! He should be rewarded with a big ol’ slice of Pi!

Question: after this summer do you think he will want to switch his name to Rock-Boy??


Aurelio June 20, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Kudos to Bach Boy! It makes perfect sense though, when you think about it. His success must have something to do with the “Mozart Effect.”

And armchair wisdom says listening to Bach is especially good for improving math skills. Eerie, no???

Maybe he should change his nickname to “Lab Rat.” 🙂

That has a certain kinda cool, edgy quality to it.


Robin Slick June 20, 2007 at 7:55 pm

Oh wow, congratulations to the Henderson family! What an awesome year you guys are having.

(How gorgeous is the woman in that photograph?)


Susan Henderson June 20, 2007 at 8:05 pm

Aww. I love my friends. And thanks, Aurelio, for letting me cry on your shoulder today.

(I know, Robin, isn’t she a cutie? And funny, too.)


Jody Reale June 21, 2007 at 12:39 am

Susan: I love all dogs, but I really love dogs like Steve. An excellent choice.

Sarah Bain: Whenever possible, I like to buy newlywed couples a wok so that I can congratulate them on their wok down the aisle. Seriously. (That one never gets old.)


Susan Henderson June 21, 2007 at 8:14 am

Jody! Good to see you!

And thank you to Marshal Zeringue for linking LitPark! You can click over today and read about Ron Currie’s book.

Pasha and Lindsay, see you Sunday!


Nathalie June 21, 2007 at 4:30 pm

Not exactly talking to yourself yet, Susan…


Susan Henderson June 22, 2007 at 8:32 am

Great to still have you around, Nathalie. I love going through the photos on your blog.

Robin – school of rock update. Bach-Boy now has Hey Jude (vocals and keys), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (keys, harmony). Green-Hand has vocals on Come Together. Mostly he’s learning blues – how to wing it over the top of a standard blues lick. There’s probably some technical term for it.

My goal is to finalize two more chapters today.


Robin Slick June 22, 2007 at 9:46 am

While My Guitar Gently Weeps is my all time favorite Beatle song.

I hope they include the missing verse from Antholoy 3. It’s so bittersweet hearing Harrison’s vocals to that now.

Now I really am going to have to see this show.


Carolyn Burns Bass June 22, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Ovations to Bach Boy!


Susan Henderson June 22, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for the cheers, Carolyn.

I don’t know that I’ve heard the missing verse, Robin. I’ll try to track it down.

I have one of my chapters spread out all over the floor and have to get back to it in a minute. Wanted to post a link to a funny video starring Tish. She’s up against Michael Chabon in some little voting deal over at GalleyCat. Check it out:

A bunch of my soccer team is away on tour, and I came across this little video that cheered me up but also made me miss them. Here’s the one who’s always tying his shoe during the game and loves to score on corner kicks:

Here’s the link for those of you not able to see the embedded video.

LitPark got a billion or so hits after the Dateline NBC show, people searching “Doug Preston” and “Mario Spezi.” Hope they found what they were looking for. Hope at least a couple of folks stick around. Okay, back to my writing.


Susan Henderson June 23, 2007 at 9:14 am

I figured everyone already knew about the trouble McSweeney’s is in, but I realized I should post about it here because McSweeney’s has been very good to me and they’ve published consistently great work. I’m going to let you learn how you can help from Enrico Casarosa because you all should be reading his blog anyway.

And speaking of Enrico, here’s some of his fine work (hopefully this code will work, but maybe not for those of you who read the rss feed):


Add to My Profile | More Videos


Susan Henderson June 23, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Oh, Kiiiiimberrrrly!

Would you and Bailey be up for an afternoon in Central Park with Mr. H, the boys, and Steve?

I have to meet my friends Lindsay and the Pasha of Malla for lunch, and then I’d catch up with you guys.

Oh, and p.s. I got carded for beer today! Wheeee! Gotta appreciate the small things in life.


Robin Slick June 24, 2007 at 7:54 am

Hi…can’t comment right now because I’m in full groupie mom on tour mode…but do any of you have the Washington Post from yesterday, June 23? They did a huge glowing review of my kids in their entertainment section in yesterday’s paper…I found it on line but of course must have the hard copy and no one in Philly carries the Washington Post!? (I tried by cell phone from 3 different states yesterday, all of whom did not carry it)

So if any of you are in the Washington area and have that paper and can snail mail it to me, name your price — I will reward you greatly. Email me at


Kimberly June 24, 2007 at 8:36 am

Susan… boy you’re lucky I checked in this morning instead of later on tonight (I’m up too early for my own good)

Bailey and I would LOVE to meet ya’ll in the Park! Just have the Henderson Boys (sounds like a rootin’-tootin’ gang of bank-robbers) give me a call and we’ll all meet up somewhere!

Robin – did you know you’re SOLD OUT in every Barnes & Noble in Manhattan? 🙂 Guess I have to go online and wait for delivery. 🙁

Oh, and I’ll go to the big newsstand on 72nd St and try find a copy of yesterday’s Post for you. If I find it, I’ll bring it tomorrow night. (Very psyched to finally sit at the “cool” table!)


Kimberly June 24, 2007 at 8:52 am

Here’s an attempt to upload photos of Bailey to keep Steve company…

Up on the roof:

And as re-imagined by Mr. H:


Kimberly June 24, 2007 at 8:55 am

bummer – the uploads didn’t work. Oh to possess html skilz…


Susan Henderson June 24, 2007 at 9:42 am

Never fear, Robin. I’ll get my mom to save it for you. Also, try Sean Carman if you want a second copy. Let me know if you need his email.

Kimberly, let me fix those pics for you:

I woke up this morning with Jack, the French-kissing doberman, lying with his head on my pillow. He’s going to stay home today. Kimberly, we’ll be in Central Park around 2, and Mr. H will have his cell phone on.


Susan Henderson June 24, 2007 at 10:27 am

Oh, and speaking of helping out McSweeney’s, if anyone wants to buy me a present (Mom??), I would really really like the signed print of Art Spiegelman’s New Yorker cover. It’s just gone out of my price range.


Nathalie June 25, 2007 at 2:14 am

What are the HTML tags to be used to embed a picture on this site (and in a comment too)?
Not that I intend to spam you all with pictures, but just out of curiosity.


Susan Henderson June 25, 2007 at 10:24 am

Nathalie, Right now, I know only Terry and I can post photos in the comments section. So all you have to do is let me know if you have something you want me to put up and where to find it.

Robin and Kimberly, I promised myself I’d get through a few chapters before I horsed around too much. So I’ll get back to both of you later today. xo


Susan Henderson June 25, 2007 at 8:06 pm

I’m getting ready to read some Alice in Wonderland to the boys. Had a good writing day today and am partially moved into the new office. Played lots of Madame Butterfly because I’m trying to build a swell in a scene and it helps me to have something grand on. Plus I love opera.

And speaking of opera, Kimberly took a picture of my boys with her cellphone yesterday. She’ll have to explain where this is – it’s something to do with John Lennon – but while she was here….

I was eating lettuce (the only thing on the menu I wasn’t allergic to) with Lindsay and Pasha, and talking about weddings and scientology and reality tv and fire island and the morning news and fifty/fitty cent and fruity pebbles.

Ooh, almost forgot about the picnic dinner we had afterwards in Prospect Park (Brooklyn). Steve the greyhound slept like a baby in the car on the way home.

Pasha, my mom says, “Say hi to pasha for me. I still think about his fabulous story of accidentally peeing all over his memorabilia and then hanging all the photos out on the line to dry. I forget what lame explanation he gave his mom, but it was hysterical.”

She also has the Washington Post article for you, Robin, and THEY MENTION YOUR BLOG IN THE ARTICLE! (Thanks, Mom! xx)

Okay, Mr. H is out doing makeup for a film tonight, and it’s time for me to read to the boys. If I owe you email, I’m definitely going to get caught up tonight.


Kimberly June 26, 2007 at 10:38 am

That photo of Bach-Boy and Green-Hand Henderson was shot (pardon the pun) in front of Strawberry Fields in Central Park. I felt it was a fitting place to bring them, considering their latest summer musical adventure.

And as a side note for Robin (and all) “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was actually playing on someone’s boom box as the boys were kneeling for their photo op. Talk about Kismet!


Robin Slick June 26, 2007 at 11:12 am

Ha ha – too cool.
Kimberly, it was awesome meeting you last night – hope you enjoyed the show. We didn’t get home until 2:00 a.m. and I’m in total zombie mode right now…Gary told me we actually logged 800 miles on the car since Thursday. My brain feels like it logged 80,000 miles.


Susan Henderson June 26, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Details, you two.

And Brian, would you post what you sent me (the selected bits) about editing? Because I feel like you just straightened my head out and maybe it would help someone other folks, too. You sure saved my ass a bunch of times this past month, so here’s a public thank you. xo


Brian June 26, 2007 at 3:27 pm

You’re a sweetheart, Susan. It pleases me no end to feel I’ve helped.

Here’s what I shared:

I agree with your conclusion to not dig in your heels [regarding your edits.] The only piece of advice I’d like to pass along was something one of my animation teachers told me years ago regarding criticism. I apply it to absolutely everything, and it has helped me a no end.

He said to listen and process all the criticism you receive, but not to forget that you know your original intent. So, the criticism tells you SOMETHING is wrong and needs fixing, but many times a suggested solution may not be the one that works the best for your intent. Or, what they think is the problem may not be the real problem, but the criticism indicates SOMETHING is wrong. You know your story and characters, so you will know how best to take what they feel isn’t working and correct it without losing your intent in the process.

This was handy to remember in the film biz. Do you ever wonder why MOST movies feel so hobbled together? – because the filmmaker gets “notes” and then does exactly what they are requested to do, but the people making the notes can easily lose sight of the WHOLE (and usually do.) So it all gets jumpy, clunky, inconsistent, and bad.

Another related trick I learned was that if you get a note and you simply don’t like their suggested solution, come up with one you DO like, and then tell them how “amazing” their note was because it inspired you to this “whole new place.” People love to feel they are a part of your creative process, even if you are, in essence, nixing their suggestion.

I know you and your writing well enough to know you will make it GREAT no matter what, so I’m not worried. Jumping through hoops IS part of the process. Hard work is too. Hang in.


Carolyn Burns Bass June 26, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Bravo, Brian. Great advice for just about any creative endeavor.


Robin Slick June 26, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Hahahaha – Kimberly and I really hit it off – I’ll be in NY on Friday to um, talk about waxing.

One hilarious moment. We’re sitting next to each other in the booth at BB Kings, watching my kids play, and Kim says to me “Is it just me or do I smell, um…”

I sheepishly pointed to my camera case and she broke up. (Hey, it’s a long boring ride back to Philadelphia…)

But as it turned out, it wasn’t me after all. Someone actually had the guts to smoke in BB Kings! Even in my hippiest hippie days I would have been too paranoid to do that…

Anyway, it turns out this is one of those cosmic moments where I introduced Kimberly to Adrian and his wife and it looks like Ade and my kids may be contributing some music to Kim’s film.

Oy. Wait. Is this the one I’m in? Hahahahaha – I better figure out how to tone down my story.

Or not. What the hell. My kids aren’t kids anymore, that is for sure.


Kimberly June 26, 2007 at 10:07 pm

And remember Robin – you can feel free to blather on and on… you never know what will end up on the cutting room floor (or I guess the recycle bin in this gol’dern modern age of computer editing).

And if we can do what I THINK we’re going to be able to do in conjunction with The “A______ B_____” gang (I hesitate to use the name, only because I am desperately superstitious about those kinds of things) it’s going to be AMAZING!!!

Robin – are you SURE that wasn’t you??? 😉 I remember smelling two distinct varietals at two different moments during the show. And if it wasn’t you, my money’s on the super-cute roadie, Biff! 🙂


Kimberly June 26, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Oh – and a quick shout out to everyone lurking here this summer. If you’re in Tokyo for the next three weeks and you have the privilege to witness the spectacular event that is the Adrian Belew Power Trio:




It will change your life.

Click for tour dates.


Nathalie June 27, 2007 at 1:33 am

Thank you Brian, that was great bundle of tips, that should stop me from snapping at critiques for trying to write entirely different things that are not me.


Susan Henderson June 27, 2007 at 11:12 am

Brian, you rock.

Robin and Kimberly, your stories are cracking me up. I have a feeling this documentary will be a little wilder than the original plan.

Hi Carolyn and Nathalie!

Hey, Kenny, three Hendersons are going to the CB open-mic tonight. I’m staying home to write but I’ll see you Sunday for some sweltering soccer.

It’s all DMX and Mary J. Blige today. Forget the writing soundtrack. I just want to be me and be happy.


Kimberly June 29, 2007 at 7:41 am

For anyone who’s interested…

Our first waxing documentary interview is today (featuring the inintimatable Robin SLick) and the blogging will soon after commence!

It’ll be called “Marion’s P.O.V.” (Marion is the name of the hi-def camera our friend is letting us use) and we’ll start blogging, or blah-gging as the case may be, on our myspace page

Come and check it out and stay tuned in to our progress! And while you’re there – won’t you be our friend?


Susan Henderson June 29, 2007 at 8:19 am

Awesome, you two. I can’t wait!

Mike Clark, from Nile Rodgers Productions, has a film showing here. Yay, Mike! Sorry it’s when I’m out of town.

Thanks for the link, Charlie!

P.S. I get the funniest notes calling me “brave” and other things for posting a no-makeup photo on my MySpace page. Is it really that weird not to wear makeup? Do people put on makeup to pet the dog??


Carolyn Burns Bass June 29, 2007 at 12:47 pm

So I want to know if you blow dry your hair that wonderfully straight to pet the dog?


Jody Reale June 29, 2007 at 4:38 pm

Oh my gosh, CBB! I was wondering the same thing.


Susan Henderson June 29, 2007 at 5:20 pm

You guys are funny. My hair’s naturally straight. I usually blow dry it at least halfway, though, because it’s unreasonably thick and can take all day to dry on its own.

There are a few robots I like to follow:

(Oh, and Carolyn, congratulations to your son on his scholarship!)


Susan Henderson June 30, 2007 at 8:58 am

Ronnie’s put up some of his sketchtravel pages on his blog. Go check it out if you have time.

And if you see Ronnie and Enrico‘s movie (Ratatouille) and like it, leave them a message and say so. They’re good people.


Susan Henderson July 1, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Hey all you lovelies. Early tomorrow morning, the small Hendersons and I are flying out of JFK to spend a week in Montana. (Pics of where I’m going are here.) Green-Hand still packs his stuffed animal, which makes me happy.

Mr. Henderson can’t go because he’s suddenly found himself the chair of the drama department at his university, plus he’s working on a movie. If you think Mr. H might be a workaholic, let me assure you that he’s not only stocked the fridge with beer and put up the hammock, but he’s also lined up two gigs with his band (one on the 4th, one on the 7th). His gigs are fun and I’m sorry to miss them.

Books: We are bringing Famous Fathers (me), Stardust (Bach-Boy), The Hobbit (Green-Hand), and Alice in Wonderland (the one I read to them at night). Bombs: We are not worried about terrorists and explosions. As most of you regulars know, Mr. H grew up outside of London so he’s pretty nonplussed by all of it; and I only worry when he does.

Very tempted to post a photo of Mr. H in his school uniform here, but I’ll refrain. (Only because I’m lazy.)

Okay, so feel free to hang out here. If you have any troubles with your comments showing up or other things, you can give Terry a holler. I’ll be back on the 10th but only for a week.

Thanks to my soccer team for a most awesome game this afternoon. I haven’t seen such a beautiful day in NY in a long time (sadly, probably not since 9-11, when it was sunny and cool in just the right amounts). It was this gorgeous Maxfield Parrish sky (Mr. H says it was more of a Turner sky; he’s usually right when it comes to art), and we had most of the gang. Plus, one guy pulled up in his Optimum Online truck and played with us in his shitkickers, and two others we didn’t know joined the game by the end.

A word about gentlemen. Our soccer team spans the gamut in talent. I would most definitely be on the low end, though I’m good at chasing down the ball. And there are some incredible athletes like Pete who played pro football in Romania and Billy who, before he was a roadie, was a hockey goalie and has the nose to prove it. But they always let me play the ball, and that’s what makes our team fun. We just want to hang out and have a good time. Most Sundays we play for two hours, but today we went longer. Candy came back from tour with a way cool monkey bite right where you’d get a tattoo. It looks a little like giant ringworm. Woops, I didn’t mean to type so much. Okay, last soccer note: I can’t make it to the fun tonight because I have to go to the airport at 4am. 🙁 xx

Take care, everyone.


Jody Reale July 2, 2007 at 6:09 pm

Susan, why are you and your posse so cool and interesting? (E.g. monkey bites, bands, growing up in London, living in New York, math, music, and naturally straight hair that’s so thick it takes all day to dry.) I’m trying to compete, but all I can come up with is this: My mom uses too much fabric softener in her laundry and is obsessed with the global threat that is flesh eating bacteria. While you and your crew live it up in Montana, I’ll try and come up with something else. Until then, ciao, tutti.


Paul A.. Toth July 4, 2007 at 9:00 pm

You’ve been tagged by the TothWorld Ministry of Propaganda.


Michael D. Williams July 5, 2007 at 2:35 pm

I love Montana. I try to go up every couple of years to fly fish around Bozeman and Missoula. I knew for sure that I was marrying my wife one day day on the banks of the west fork of the Bitterroot. She is fair skinned and had burned to a candy apple red. She was still exuberant and enthralled by the world around us and I was sure she was the one.


LaurenBaratz-Logsted July 6, 2007 at 1:58 pm

In the movie The Hunt for Red October, Sam Neill playing a dying Russian agent has one of my favorite lines: “I wish I could have seen Montana.”


Michael D. Williams July 6, 2007 at 5:20 pm

That stands out in my mind as well. I feel sorry for him.


Susan Henderson July 9, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I’m sitting in the Missoula airport, first time I’ve had internet access or cell phone reception since I got here. There was a buck and a doe in my brother’s yard right before we left. It was a great send-off.

I didn’t bring a camera on this trip. I’m not used to traveling without Mr. Henderson, and I’m noticing how much we normally divide up the tasks. He would have gotten the suitcase packed under 50 pounds if he were here.

Jody, you made me laugh. Hi Lauren and Michael. Paul, I’ll get to that tag when I get home.


Susan Henderson July 9, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Hanging out in the Salt Lake airport and so I’ll get to that tagging by Paul A. Toth. There are rules but I have a compulsive need to break rules so I’ll simply answer the questions here. If you want to consider yourself tagged, just leave a link to your blog here and we can all run over to your place and see what you have to say. Okay, here we go. Eight random fact/habits:

1. I once counted Peter Frampton’s chest hairs and he had 234.
2. I have a full-out addiction to bananas with peanut butter. I try to only eat one a day but it’s not easy.
3. I’d pretty much rather commit suicide than do the dishes.
4. I’m an early bird and a night owl. If I wasn’t married, I’d never sleep.
5. To help myself fall asleep at night, I draw daisies and stars and other shapes with my stomach muscles. I sometimes do this for more than an hour.
6. I have about 5 completely different styles of handwriting. The one I’m most comfortable with looks Arabic and it’s so people can’t read over my shoulder.
7. The celebrity I’ve seen more than any other in airports is Dick Gregory.
8. My favorite animal is the bat.


Aureli July 9, 2007 at 7:31 pm

Susan suggested I open this up to the group and I’m hoping my friends her at LitPark can help me out with a bit of research.

I have a moment in my new novel that calls for a song reference, and I’m completely and abnormally out of it when it comes to any music stuff that isn’t hokey – think Rogers & Hammerstein or Gilbert & Sullivan. (Sad, I know.)

Could any and all of you make few recommendations for me to listen to? It seems like many of you have a much broader sense of music than I. (Lance…??? Robin…???)

A little background:

The character is a guy who is in his thirties, has had everything pierced, tats, juggled fire at Renaissance Faires (badly), a nice guy but pretty wild, who is now a dad. Trying to adjust. Listening in his headphones at home and jerkin’.

The moment in the book calls for the kind of piece that would be an emotional release, make you want to jump up and slam-dance or break things for the fun of it or scream at the top of your lungs – not angry so much as completely wild abandon. Something out of control, and raucous, and thrashing. Fun and irresponsible.

And hopefully something familiar enough that most normal people (unlike me) will be able to mentally reference it.

Thanks for playing. 🙂


Aurelio July 9, 2007 at 7:36 pm

How do you draw daisies with your stomach muscles? Cram a pencil in your navel? This I gotta see – how about a YouTube, eh???

P.S. The last post was me, not some new idiot named Aureli. (Damn typo thingie again.)


Aurelio July 9, 2007 at 7:38 pm

O the next post… I guess Aureli needs approval for his comment to appear. Ah, the wonders of technology. 😉


Nathalie July 10, 2007 at 2:02 am

Susan ! Nice to have you back, even for just a week. A shame you have no pictures, I would have loved to see Montana too.

When is your story set ? (you could get a large scope already by slipping a decade…)


Robin Slick July 10, 2007 at 5:24 am

Search and Destroy by Iggy Pop.

Would be perfect and the audience for such a book would know it for sure and relate in a big way.


Robin Slick July 10, 2007 at 5:25 am

Oh…the lyrics:

Im a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
Im a runaway son of the nuclear a-bomb
I am a worlds forgotten boy
The one who searches and destroys

Honey gotta help me please
Somebody gotta save my soul
Baby detonate for me

Look out honey, cause Im using technology
Aint got time to make no apology
Soul radiation in the dead of night
Love in the middle of a fire fight

Honey gotta strike me blind
Somebody gotta save my soul
Baby penerate my mind

And Im the worlds forgotten boy
The one whos searchin, searchin to destroy
And honey Im the worlds forgotten boyt
The one whos searchin, searchin to destroy

Forgotten boy, forgotten boy
Forgotten boy said hey forgotten boy


Aurelio July 10, 2007 at 9:39 am

Nathalie, it’s basically present day, or a few years from now-ish.

Robin, thanks for the great suggestion! (And so quickly!) That seems like just what I’m looking for. I’m gonna go see if I can give it a listen somewhere on line.

The lyrics fit eerily well!


lance reynald July 10, 2007 at 9:48 am

Iggy would be great.
though Lust for Life always reminds me of Royal Carribean cruise commercials now…so, I’d avoid that one…seems to have become a cliche…kinda like the stones “start me up” induces images of Bill Gates for some reason.

I’d also consider some classic surf punk kinda stuff, like the precursor to the Offspring and Blink182…I’m thinking the Circle Jerks, the song is “Group Sex”…it makes me nostalgic, it makes me rowdy and it makes me laugh. If you wanted to go a bit darker there’s always Husker Du or Nitzer Ebb…and another direction might be Social Distortion “bad luck” , “cold feelings” or “born to lose”… Social D had the edge to it that is odd in the fact that back when they toured real heavy (1989-1991, I think I may have seen a dozen shows that one fall)…they had a following but now it seems I hear them more on the alternative radio stations than I ever heard them then…so stuff like that can work as a good “remembering your roots” trigger.
and, time period is key, there are those of us out there that are of the age that some good old Nirvana- “Smells like Teen Spirit” is a song that changed everything…now and then I crank that one up and try to remember what it all looked like before then…that song was a wakeup call for Gen. X…the signal that we we’re going to be very different indeed.

if he’s doing a brooding jerking off thing, there is always Bowie…”nature boy” or “young americans”… but, I’d hate to be in his head if that was the case.


Aurelio July 10, 2007 at 1:08 pm

Hey, Lance! Great stuff, thanks a bunch!

LOL – I’ll avoid the Caribbean Cruise and Bill Gates references. (Commercials have tainted many a good tune, too true.)

It’s like that song, “Who Are You?” (by The Who, wasn’t it…?) which CSI used for its theme song. Unfortunately, now when I hear it I automatically picture exploding heads and spinning lab equipment.

This gives me a lot terrific of possibilities to examine and a chance to educate myself musically too.

Susan predicted you’d be a great resource. I really appreciate your help, Lance!


Nathalie July 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm

I would have gone for Bowie too, or The Cure…
Just like Heaven might be good.
You’ll find both this one and the Iggy Pop on RadioBlog


Susan Henderson July 10, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Well, now, here’s something to run with: The Jerking-Off Soundtrack. I think it will be a hit. I was going to recommend something from James Brown’s Sex Machine, which (along with Us3 and Glen Miller) was the music I played most to my kids when they were in diapers.

Aurelio, it’s hard to describe drawing with stomach muscles if you don’t bellydance. Basically, okay, suck in your stomach a little and then try to …, well, you know how Shakira can do something with her stomach and raise her chest 7 inches or so? That’s a start. The easiest pattern to start with is a crazy-eight, but you’ll see one side of your stomach muscles is stronger than the other so if you try to reverse the pattern it’s way harder. I have a feeling this all sounds super-weird so I’ll stop typing right now.

Oh, wait, Robin included song lyrics, so I will too:

Fellas, I’m ready to get up and do my thing (yeah go ahead!)
I wanta get into it, man, you know (go ahead!)
Like a, like a sex machine, man, (yeah go ahead!)
Movin’ and doin’ it, you know
Can I count it off? (Go ahead)

One, two, three, four!

Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Stay on the scene, (get on up), like a sex machine, (get on up)

Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Stay on the scene, (get on up), like a sex machine, (get on up)

Get up, (get on up)
Stay on the scene, (get on up), like a sex machine, (get on up)

Wait a minute!
Shake your arm, then use your form
Stay on the scene like a sex machine
You got to have the feeling sure as you’re born
Get it together, right on, right on.

Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)


Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)

You said, you said you got the,
You said the feeling,
You said the feeling you got to get
You give me the fever ‘n’ a cold sweat.
The way i like, it is the way it is,
I got mine ‘n’ don’t worry ’bout his

Get up, (get on up)
Stay on the scene, (get on up), like a sex machine, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)

Bobby! Should I take ’em to the bridge?
(Go Ahead!)
Take ’em on to the bridge!
(Take em to the bridge!)
Should I take ’em to the bridge?
Take ’em to the bridge?
(Go Ahead!)
Hit me now!

Come on!

Stay on the scene, like a sex machine!
The way I like it is, is the way it is
I got mine, (dig it!), he got his

Stay on the scene, like a lovin’ machine
Stay on the scene, like a lovin’ machine
Stay on the scene

I wanna count it off one more time now
(Go ahead!)
You wanna hear it like it did on the top fellas?
Hear it like it did on the top?
Hit it now!

Get on up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get on up, (get on up)

Stay on the scene, (get on up), like a lovin’ machine, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)

Taste, (get on up)
Bein’, (get on up)
Taste, (get on up)
Bein’, (get on up)

Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Stay on the scene, (get on up), like a sex machine, (get on up)

You gotta have the feelin, (get on up)
Sure as you’re born, (get on up)

Get it together, right on, right on
right on, right on, (right on, right on)
right on, right on, (right on, right on)
right on, right on, (right on, right on)

Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)

And then, shake your money maker,
Shake your money maker,
Shake your money maker,
Shake your money maker,
Shake your money maker,
Shake your money maker,
Shake your money maker

Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)


Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)
Get up, (get on up)

Can we hit it like we did one more time, from the top
Can we hit like that one more time
(One more time!)
One more time!
Let’s hit it and quit! (Go ahead!)
Can we hit it and quit? (Yeah!)
Can we hit it and quit? (Yeah!)
Can we hit it and quit? (Yeah!)
Hit it!


Susan Henderson July 10, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Montana photos!

Lookee what I found. Turns out I took exactly two photos in Montana, both with my cell phone. This is a corner of my brother’s house. He built the porch that goes all the way around the house, and where the trees are is the creek. There’s another structure that looks like house #2 and that’s where his band rehearses. And because he’s a bachelor (and a doctor), he can do these things and devote an entire room to fly-tying, etc.

Sorry, he’s not dressed in this photo. But honestly, he’s often only in boxers so this is fairly decent in comparison. And these are the boys running back to the house because it’s time to go to the airport.

I do have stories from the trip. There was the stranger on the plane who serenaded me for most of the flight from Salt Lake to Missoula. There was a day in Bozeman with my favorite cousin, who makes ceramic penises with wings on them as his living.

There were my uncle’s two horses that got out of the gate on the fourth of July and both were hit and killed on the highway. And there was Green-Hand’s first love, who lied about her age (she was 8 and said she was 9) and threw seaweed balls at him and then caught tadpoles.

But actually, I have a super f*ckload of writing to catch up on before we leave for France, so I’m going to be scarce around here and get my work done. Maybe I’ll write up something about Montana for The Nervous Breakdown when I have some spare time.

As always, feel free to make this your home. You know dogs and feet are absolutely allowed on the furniture. That goes without saying. xo


Aurelio July 10, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Thanks, Nathalie – is a pretty cool set-up, I bookmarked it. It’s a nice quick way to check these things out.

Iggy is the kind of sound I was picturing, but when I was listening to some of the Social Distortion stuff Lance mentioned I came across “Mommy’s Little Monster” which offered some funny possibilities to tie into my character and his new kid.


Nathalie July 11, 2007 at 2:02 am

Montana !
Thanks for the pictures, Susan.
And it’s nice to know you are a fellow belly dancer too. 🙂


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