hi everyone — just wanted to let you all know that the reading went really well, and it was very heartening to see loved ones and pals who braved an unexpected, awful rainstorm and went up and over ‘the hill’ just to be there. Thank you so much for that. It means a lot to both of us. Also, it was great to see some SJSU undergrads from Kate Evans’s writing class. This was Amy’s first reading — ever — and it went over extremely well. As for me, this is the first time I’ve aired out any aspect of a new project that I’m working on. It has no title, and every piece of the project relates in some way to a physical artifact that I’ve either found or kept over the years or, in some cases, made from scratch. I’m envisioning this project as a kind of living museum or wonder-cabinet. Some of the material is pretty dark but I chose a piece that was quite a bit breezier and more lighthearted. If you missed last night’s presentation, pick up the winter issue of Poets & Writers Magazine because the essay is going to appear in that issue. By the way, the event was videotaped (all of it, including the Q & A afterward) and one of these days it is going to be posted on the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies’ website so I’ll give you a heads-up when it happens. I also wanted to let you know that Catamaran Literary Magazine (I’m now contributing editor) has been printed and copies of the magazine are going to ship really soon. In other news, I’ve dry cleaned my best shirt and suit because I am going to the UC Santa Cruz Founders Forum and Founders Dinner this Friday. I‘m very excited about both of these things. On Friday I will have a chance to take in a presentation by Sir Martin Rees, one of the world’s preeminent astronomers. The talk at this point is completely sold out but this TED talk should give you some sense of the breadth and the scope of Friday’s discussion. I will post a full report about Rees and his presentation on this blog early next week so stay tuned. I’ll also do a big write-up about the dinner, too. If the dry cleaners makes a mess of my shirt, I’m really up the creek.