"Did the Oregonian
I asked my publisher this every day for weeks.
"Um, not yet. But Oprah wants you, and Good Morning America called again and Charlie Rose is on the other line! Did you see the Cleveland Plain Dealer review? The Starred review in Library Journal?"
Crickets. "Isn't that great?"
"Are you sure Jeff Baker got a galley?" She tells me she sent one.
I tell her send another.
"Did you tell him I wrote the book there? That I practically lived there for a year? That I put that under my author photo but you took it off??
"Did you tell him my story? He'd love it, I know! New York girl moves to Oregon to re-invent her life after tragic death of her husband, and writes bestseller!!"
"Um, actually, that's already been done," she mumbled.
"But I'm practically a Kennedy cousin! I see a profile, maybe even serial rights!"
My publicist, fresh from Yale and flush with enthusiasm, calls:
Jenn: Hi, Jeff Baker, please.
Jeff : Yeah.
Jenn: Oh, hi! I'm following up on the letter I sent about Carole Radziwill's memoir, did you get it?
Jenn: Um, Okay great, will you consider doing a review?
Jeff: Maybe. (click)
Undeterred, I go on press tour, drop little Oregon crumbs along the way:
- Gratuitious Oregon mentions in: Vogue, Glamour, O magazine
- Plug in The Daily News: Lloyd Grove ("Escape from New York: clever recasting of coffee shop next to Albertson's on 99W as 'wilds of Oregon.'")
- Plug in New York Post: Liz Smith (syndicated in 72 newspapers nationwide)
- MacLeans (the Canadian Newsweek!!)
- Oprah Winfrey Show (unfortunately edited out by producers afraid Oregon anecdote didn't tie in directly enough to Oprah. Replaced by Oprah close-up.)
- Gratuitious shout-outs in my Acknowledgements (see p. 263 in memoir) to: Dave at Coffee a la Cart in Sherwood, Oregon "reading group," my Oregon brother and his Oregon mother-in-law Janis Bozarth, the Oregon Blizzard of 2004!
- Gratuitious reference to Lewis and Clark (p. 80 in memoir)
Money spent on Oregon:
Plane tickets to Portland: $6,847
Gas and car rental to LaGrande: $542
Weekend stay at the Stang Manor: $298
I heart Oregon T-shirt: $12.99
Books at Powell's: $492
Muffins at Powell's CafÃ©: $43.75
"Scenes from Oregon" Wall Calender (2004): $3.99
Pinot at Dundee Bistro: $2,392
Movies at Fox Cinema: $84
Oregon Beaver and Duck Sweatshirts: $75.98
Subscription to Portland Monthly: $14
* Review in The Oregonian: Hopeless
Gratuitous Name Drops:
- I shared a ski lift with James Curley (President Solomon Ski Company) in Banff. "Nice skis," I said. "Hey, did you say you're from Portland? Do you know Jeff Baker??"
- I was seated next to this guy at a dinner. "What'd you say?" I yelled over the din of New York name-dropping. "You have a ranch in Pendleton?? Do you know Jeff Baker???"
- I spent New Year's Eve eve on the Octopus, this guy's boat. "He owns some basketball team in Oregon," my friend whispered. I tripped over the feet of two Wilson brothers to get to him, knocked the guitar out of his hands, and shouted perkily over the karoake, "Hey Paul, I'm Carole. Um, do you know Jeff Baker?"
Alas, letters went unanswered, phone calls unreturned. So I did what I always do in these situations, I went to a Country Music Awards party.
Where He walked in with a dazzling smile and rock star hair. Bright, well-spaced out eyes, and yoga tight body. The sexy confidence that comes from years of women throwing their panties at you onstage.
He sat down on the couch next to me.
I heard my friend Michael Rourke (shown here on left with unidentified man in Virunga Park, Rwanda) whispering in my head, "Carole, if you see your type, run!" I excused myself to the ladies room.
Then I heard those three words every girl longs for, from that perfect cupid-shaped trumpet playing mouth, "I'm from Oregon."
"Hellooooo." I sit back down. "Do you know Jeff Baker?"
"No. No, I don't."
Well, we had a connection anyway; slim as it was.
Then I flew to Oregon to write a blog. A year from now I will publish a fabulous novel, again written in Oregon, sprinkled with Oregon stuff. I will trot out chirpy Oregon stories for Liz Smith, Glamour, Newsweek... a Yet-to-be-Selected new Oregon critique group will be heralded in literary circles everywhere!
Today I pose a question to you, Dear readers: Who do you have to sleep with in this town to get a review? [Winning answer gets I Heart NY tee, and mention in Future Book Acknowledgments.]
Update: Larry King On Line 2!
Me (this morning at unholy hour): Hello?
Todd Polks (producer): Hey, Carole, can you be on the show
tonight? We're having some authors on to discuss the Frey thing.
Me: Oh yeah, who?
Todd: Mitch Albom, maybe Maureen Dowd, some other big famous important people.
Me: Um, okay, but I'm in Sherwood...
Todd Polks: Can you be in Portland by 6:00? We'll link you by satellite.
Me: I don't know...do you know Jeff Baker?
** Today at 4:00 ... you seriously can't miss it! Read Gawker for a preview.
"These novels will give way, by and by, to diaries or autobiographies ? captivating books, if only a man knew how to choose among what he calls his experiences that which is really his experience, and how to record truth truly."
? Ralph Waldo Emerson