Tobias Wolff: tomorrow in Santa Cruz. Stay tuned for a smaller photograph.

I bet you this will fill that auditorium all the way up. Hope to see you there [but don’t take my parking spot!] Wow — this photo is way too big for this blog entry. It jumps right out of the page. Let me try a smaller one tomorrow.All events are free and open to the public. Jump to the full schedule right here.

My upcoming appearance at Literary Orange [with additional info and added link.]

I’m off to the Southlands [soon] for Orange County’s biggest literary conference on April 9 at the UC Irvine Student Center. I will be one of three featured authors on a panel that will speak about voice and place. Hope to see you there. Keynote speakers at Literary Orange 2011 are Ron Hansen, author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which was adapted for a 2007 film starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck; and T. Jefferson Parker, an Edgar Allan Poe Award winner. Lunch will be served. Looks like you’ll be able to park right there in the student lot near the event center. And this goes out to the folks who have been asking me about this, a UCI news article with some additional info and highlights.

Living Writers 2011: Tobias Wolff, Chang-Rae Lee, Andrew Sean Greer and Aimee Bender in Santa Cruz for free

I just found out about this 11 seconds ago. The Creative Writing Program and Literature Department is presenting the Spring 2011 Living Writers series, and they’ve got a pretty amazing line-up. I’m going to go to as many of these as humanly possible. Tobias Wolff, March 31. Chang-Rae Lee, April 7. Andrew Sean Greer, April 14. Claudia Rankine, April 28. Jessica Hagedorn, May 5. Aimee Bender, May 12. Neo Benshi, Roxi Power Hamilton, Jen Hofer and Konrad Steiner, May 26. All events are free and open to the public. Jump to the full schedule right here.

St Patrick’s Day: pass the Maalox (and the pain relievers.)

Just got home from my first St. Patrick’s Day party in 11 years. Drank a pint of Boddington’s Ale (which is actually British, but my friends put a whole bunch of McCormick’s green food dye in it so that makes it OK.) Ate too much corned beef and cabbage. Live chickens were running all over the property. And to top it all off, a family member head-butted me right in the teeth. Good times. To sustain the theme of the week, I’m reading Skippy Dies, which I highly recommend. The author’s name is Paul Murray.

Storm damage [updated]

Everyone seems to be OK. However, I took a glimpse at the harbor and it was very scary to watch (from higher ground, of course.) Here are a few videos taken at the harbor that day. The human scale was missing; boats were getting tossed into each other, barrels and whole chunks of the pier were bobbing around. I saw three helicopters flying low, and the Coast Guard trying to keep people off the docks and the boats. Boat owners kept scrambling toward the docks, trying protect their stuff. There were some bad surges still hitting the harbor as of early afternoon– and they seemed to be getting worse for some reason. Several vessels are still knocking into each other — and I saw a boat sinking right in front of me. Seems like they managed to evacuate just about everybody out of that area. The bottom line is that…

Tobias Wolff

Tobias Wolff wishes he could say that reading Thomas Mann started him out on the road to becoming an author. He remembers reading an interview with Susan Sontag in which she talked about reading Mann and Kierkegaard when she was still in grade school. “She was very precocious,” he said, drily, during his opening remarks at the first night of the Humanities Division’s Living Writers reading series, which drew a capacity crowd to the Humanities Lecture Hall on Thursday. Every one of us has an author like that, said Wolff, author of the novels The Barracks Thief and Old School, the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army, and the short story collections In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, and The Night in Question. “You look back and think about who it was that made you store up extra batteries in your flashlight…