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Author Archive: "Zoe Heller"


I've been felled by a migraine for the last 24 hours, which is why this post is late (again). Instead of tapping out blog entries, or lounging in the sun, or sampling the touristic pleasures of Coral Gables, I've been prostrate in a darkened room, with a cold washcloth on my head.

Migraines are a terrifically dull and anti-social affliction. My mother used to get them and I have vivid childhood memories of creeping into her room with a pack of her special pink Migraleve tablets, wondering, slightly resentfully, how long Mum's "bad head" would last this time. The medication is a good deal more sophisticated these days than it was back then. If I take one of my Maxalt pills the moment I feel the symptoms coming on, I can cut the thing in half or sometimes nip it in the bud altogether. Even so, I can count on being out of commission for a minimum of ten days a year. The pain of migraines is real enough, but something about the vagueness of their cause and the uncertainty of their duration makes even me, a bona-fide sufferer, ...

Be Bolder

The Tavis Smiley Show turned out to be a hoot. My performance as an interviewee was as moronic as ever and, despite the best efforts of the lovely make-up woman, Sheila, I looked hideous. But Mr. Smiley was very kind and did all the things that make publishers happy, like holding my book up to the camera and repeating its title ten times. Plus, I got going-home presents: two (count 'em) framed photographs of Tavis and me on set, and a Tavis Smiley mug filled with mini-Snickers bars. Cool.

I left L.A. this morning and I'm in Miami now, sitting by a pool with a Diet Coke and a ciggy, rocking my gladiator sandals and Prussian blue toenails. Oh, how nice it is to be in proper warm weather again! All I have left to do is one more reading in Coral Gables tomorrow night and then I'll be on my way home. My suitcase is so weighted down with presents for my daughters and various supplies of things that can't be had on the island, ...

Salted with About 20 Uhs and Ums

I've just come back from doing a taped segment for Morning Edition on NPR. It was fun to talk to Linda Wertheimer, whose voice I have been listening to for years, but I fear that I came off kind of dopey in the interview. She asked me a lot of questions about why all my characters are so horrid (sigh) and at no point did I ever really come up with a cogent riposte. When will I ever get good at this promotion stuff? Earlier in this tour, a guy at a local radio station offered to give me some tips on how to be a good interviewee. I gladly accepted the offer, but sadly, most of what he had to say was not very helpful. It was all along the lines of "try to be really interesting"  and "act charming."  Like, who knew?

Other writers I know are brilliant at talking about their books. They don't get nervous. They don't forget the names of their protagonists. They speak in gorgeous, Augustan paragraphs without breaking a sweat. I've been doing this a while now and I'm still crap at it.


Commonwealth Day and Hair Rollers

I seem to have done something to my back. Before I left San Francisco, I went to the Kabuki spa and got a half-hour massage from a man with very strong hands called Kyle. It felt delicious at the time, but ever since, I've been walking around with a grimace and a dowager's hump.

It's nine days since I left home and I am really hankering for my two girls, Frankie (9) and Lula (5). Yesterday, at the little schoolhouse they attend in the Bahamas, there was a celebration of Commonwealth Day and all the pupils had to wear the national dress of a Commonwealth country. Frankie went as an Indian. Lula went as an Australian.



One of the mortifying side-effects of missing my daughters is that I become slightly verklemmt whenever I see kids on the street. I even get a little teary-eyed looking at children's books in bookstores.

Last night, after poring, weepily, over the Commonwealth pictures, I decided to distract myself by playing around with ...

On Book Tour

I'm on book tour at the moment. A week ago, I left my home on a little island in the Bahamas and flew to Toronto. From there I went to New York. Now I'm in San Francisco, about to go to L.A. I quite enjoy touring, but it is, I have noticed, a strangely infantilizing experience. Everywhere I go, I am accompanied by a charming "escort" who does the driving and the schmoozing, who makes sure I have enough clothes to wear and that I get to readings on time. The lovely woman who looked after me in Canada actually walked me across busy roads. And when I had to stop at a pharmacy to buy a toothbrush, she insisted on coming in with me to help me choose the right one.

I always start out on these trips, protesting that I am a grown woman who can look after herself, thank you very much, but sooner or later I surrender. I grow woozy and helpless. I start to enjoy having my hand held. Christ, by the end of the week, I will probably be writing this ...

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