You might consider reading these next

(this is my scratchboard illustration of Mephitis Mephitis, whose noxious spray can render dogs temporarily sightless.) First of all, stumbling upon this link to an interview with Tom Waits was an unexpected boon. Plus, it’s nice to hear that someone’s car is messier than mine, and that he apparently like Valencia hot sauce, although my brand is Tapatio. A couple of other things. It’s unnerving when I read a very good book that came out a while ago without me knowing about it. One prime example is Bernard Cooper’s The Bill From My Father, as good a memoir as I’ve read in a long while. It has poetic compression, heft, authenticity, the whole shebang, and it doesn’t try to gussy up the grouchy inscrutable dad at the center of the book. Books I also enjoyed recently: Gerry Hadden’s new nonfiction work, Never the Hope Itself (I even blurbed this one!…

True Fiction radio

I’m going on True Fiction Radio in less than an hour. I’d better start driving to the studio now in case I get a flat tire or run into traffic. (or both.) My reading and my talk with Richard Stockton will soon be available as a podcast on iTunes.

Something old, something new

I’m going to do a podcast soon in which I’ll read something old (well, not that old — it’s something from The Cactus Eaters, involving a possible case of mistaken identity and a dirty knife) and a very small section of a work so brand-new it doesn’t even have a name just yet. Will post that link when it’s ready.

Scott Williamson sets speed record on Pacific Crest Trail

Exciting news, and this is the first I’ve heard about it. Thanks to my brother, Phil, for sending this in. Scott is the most prolific PCT hiker ever, and he’s even yo-yo’d the trail (southern to northern terminus, then northern terminus to southern terminus in one sustained effort) on more than one occasion. Amazing accomplishments, to say the least.

Dr. Abraham Verghese speaks out about bedside visits and i-Patients (PLUS: see if you can guess the identity of the guy with the mustache).

OK, sharp-eyed Cactuseaters readers. Let’s see if you can guess the identity of the mustache-wearing guy in the photo projected on the big screen behind Dr. Abraham Verghese. If you think you’ve got the right answer, send me an email, and if you’re the first one that comes in, I’ll put your name in my blog. The original version of the story included a dead giveaway, but I removed it just to make it more challenging for you…) Anyhow, here is the link to my story on Dr. Abraham Verghese. I have an alternate and much longer version that goes into (much) more detail. If you’d like me to post that longer version as well, send me an email. Otherwise, you know I’ll forget to do it. By the way, I should point out that he broke down barriers between himself and the audience by making his presentation as informal…

Dr. Abraham Verghese in Santa Cruz

How many people do you know who can remove a human appendix, and then rush home and crank out a bunch of really good sestinas? How many people do you know who can write smoothly paced novellas while waiting to be called up to perform brain surgery? Not many, I would guess. The successful doctor/successful writer hybrid is one of life’s enduring mysteries. You’d think it would take a lifetime to reach eminence in just one of those professions. But that hasn’t stopped such physician/authors as Anton Chekhov, Oliver Sacks, Richard Selzer, Ethan Canin, or, for that matter, Abraham Verghese, who is visiting Santa Cruz today to give a lecture and visit students. The title of tonight’s sold-out lecture: The Art of Medicine In The Era of Homo Technologicus. I always want to know: how on earth does anyone have time to be a writer/physician, or even have time to…