Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I’m back from my short hiatus. Since we live in the desert east of Los Angeles where it gets very hot in the summer, at least half the people leave--some as early as April--and don’t come back until Fall. This is both good and bad for those of us who remain. The advantages to remaining in town are that (1) traffic is reduced, (2) parking places in shopping malls are vacant and (3) many upscale restaurants offer two-for-one deals to diners.

We don’t have a second home, or one we left behind in a different climate, to escape to, but we do take a few short trips to attend graduations, weddings, or just visit friends and relatives. This particular getaway to northern California involved a graduation, visits to two of our sons and their families, and time with three old friends. We had hoped to see three other friends at that time, but they weren’t in town. One was in Hawaii, one in Canada and one in Ireland. Shows what length people will go to avoid having us visit. LOL

While we were away, the famous writer, Ray Bradbury died and, although many others have commented--and more eloquently--I want to express my regrets and my personal experience meeting the man. He was a speaker for at least three writers conferences I attended and autographed a book for me. I often thought it odd that, although a science fiction writer, he was afraid to fly. I also remember something he said in every talk he gave. In addition to telling how he paid ten cents per half hour to use a typewriter in a library, he also admonished his listeners to avoid watching local news on television. “They’re just about murders, rapes and robberies, nothing you really need to know. Use that hour to write something you like.”

Dave Barry was my favorite columnist, and I read his books as soon as they came out, because I love his humor. Yesterday’s newspaper, as well as Barry’s website, tell the bad news that the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band formed twenty years ago by a small group of writers, will perform its last two concerts in Los Angeles later this month. The writers are, besides Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Stephen King, and Scott Turow, among others who occasionally play with them. Bruce Springsteen once sat in with them and declared they were almost as good as a garage band. Nevertheless they raised two million dollars for charities.

My husband and I owned a condo on Maui, and the first Maui Writers Conference was held over Labor Day weekend in (I think) 1993, and it featured the Rock Bottom Remainders. Scott Turow was not among them that year, but I think Ridley Pearson was. Their music and humor were the highlight of the conference.

The other bad news since June 1st is that I attempted to enter a prestigious writing contest, but the entry form which was required--and which I sent an SASE for twenty days before the deadline--never arrived in time: in fact the contest coordinators didn’t even mail it until June 5th, five days after the deadline to enter. Frustration, thy name is writing.

Do you have a sad story about a frustrating incident? I’d love to hear it. Maybe it will cheer me up.

Ray Bradbury
Dave Barry
Rock Bottom Remainders


  1. RIP the Rock Bottom Remainders. I followed Dave Barry's band when we were in college together. (He at Haverford; me at Bryn Mawr.) It was called the Federal Duck. The only band I could say I actually groupied. He wasn't a bad musician. And their performances were hilarious, as you might imagine.

    Sorry about the contest people. What Bozos. Who has paper entrance forms these days anyway?

    1. Anne:
      Many thanks. The frustrating thing was that the contest people obviously knew (should have known) the deadline was June 1st, yet they sat on my request for the entry form for 16-20 days and then sent it June 5th. AArgh (Pirate speak in lieu of expletives.)

      Kind of you to respomnd when you are so busy.


Speak to me! I'm listening!