Describe your latest project.
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith is a book quite similar to Traveling Mercies in structure and content short pieces, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes both at the same time, on spirituality, told from the perspective of a devout but crabby left-wing Christian who worships at a small, integrated church.
What section of the newspaper do you read first?
I get the SF Chronicle and the NY Times every morning. I begin with the news section of the Chronicle, out of loyalty. I have been reading it my entire life. Some of my first memories are of my parents reading it at the breakfast table. My father got the news section. My mother got the entertainment and women's pages (this was the fifties I believe this system was true in all families). I know the paper is made fun of by all residents of big cities who have a great newspaper, but for me, it is like an aunt I really love, who has maybe lost a little ground. Then I read the Datebook, which is the entertainment section, because we do have great columnists in every field. Also, I check the TV listings to see if there is anything to look forward to that night that will make it possible for me to survive another day under the Bush administration. Survivor, Judging Amy, Monk, The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, Sopranos. Then I read the arts section of the Times, studying the book ads carefully, to see if anyone I really hate is doing too well. Then I read the front section of the Times, especially the page one stories, and the editorial pages.
What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, what sign would you change to and why?
I am an Aries. Although I do not believe in astrology, I think this is exactly the right sign to have been born under. Many brilliant and willful people are Aries, also, many serial killers and despotic right-wing judges.
Describe the best breakfast or your life.
I love my daily breakfast. Every morning it feels like the best breakfast of my life. I have one cup of coffee (Medalio D'Oro, espresso; I am the last person anyone knows who still drinks canned coffee). I drink it with milk. Then I have plain Greek yogurt, with lots of honey, and Fanny's Café (Alice Waters's breakfast place) granola. Then I have raspberries, or a pear. If I feel wild, I might even eat a mango.
What is your idea of absolute happiness?
My idea of absolute happiness is to be in bed on a rainy day, with my blankie, my cat, and my dog. Also, three or four of the following magazines New Yorker, New York, Vanity Fair, the Nation, People. My boyfriend, Rory, comes by from time to time, as does my son, and they stretch out on the bed and just hang out for a while. No one stays too long, except for the cat and dog. Then, at some point, I take a little nap, and when I wake up, I drink a cool glass of water. Heaven.
Why do you write?
I write because writing is the gift God has given me to help people in the world. I came with curly hair, green eyes, and the ability to shape and tell stories in a way that a certain kind of person finds helpful, and funny. I love to make people laugh, because nothing is more life giving. I love to help people feel a sense of connection in their lives, by sharing the truth and details of mine this seems to greatly decrease people's feeling of isolation. I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine.