Blog

Living Your Best Life

Sheets of rain are running down the hill where I live. It’s an amazing sight. When I look out my dining room window, where I have a 180-degree view of the city and the bay, all I see is orange streetlights peeking through a gray haze. We need the rain after several years of drought,

Read More

Thoughts on Arrival

I finally watched Arrival. I’d been looking forward to seeing it, because I love the short story it’s based on (“Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang) and the soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson, so my expectations were high. And they were largely met. I thought it was a remarkably tender, meditative movie whose message — that

Read More

Looking for Wyatt Earp

I went looking for the grave of Wyatt Earp. Turns out, he’s buried around the corner from the Volkswagen dealership just south of San Francisco — an unexpected place for a legend to end up. Sure, plenty of California luminaries are there keeping him company. Levi Strauss, Joe DiMaggio, William Randolph Hearst. But I doubt

Read More

Two Nights in Galt

On a regular San Francisco morning – gloomy, temperature in the low sixties, fog hugging the edges of the city – I drove to Galt, a town half an hour southeast of Sacramento, where I’d rented a cabin to devote two days to working on my new novel without distraction. Instead of the 80 East

Read More

Goodbye, Jim Harrison

When you read a good book, its author for a little while becomes your friend. Jim Harrison was my friend since 2007, when I first read Returning to Earth. He published a book every year, and I read them all. His amazement and terror at the natural world resonated with mine, particularly in the novels

Read More

Parole Search

True story. This happened a few weeks ago. On a Friday afternoon, the doorbell rings. Six cops are outside, four in plainclothes, two in uniform. “Open up. Parole search,” one of them says through the security gate. “Parole search?” “Open up.” I’ve lived in the US for more than 12 years, but suddenly I’m not sure

Read More

Meeting Joe Hill

I went to The Booksmith last night, one of my favorite book stores in San Francisco, to meet Joe Hill, who was on tour promoting NOS4A2. You never know with writers, if they’re going to be boring and stand-offish or friendly and outgoing. Joe Hill was the latter, so we took this picture. Then I

Read More

Road Trip

She said, “Let’s get into the car and drive,” and so we did, crossing the Golden Gate into Marin. It was a Saturday afternoon. We had our windows down, and shards of music and conversation from passing cars blew into our ears and faded almost as soon as they had registered. Minutes after the bridge,

Read More