Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The thing about traditional book publishing is that things move incredibly slowly and everything takes forever. But you get used to the pace and it feels normal to you (of course my mind is fixated on my 2013 list right now, why wouldn't it be?) All of which led to an exciting moment I had yesterday when the first Spring 2012 (known to its friends as S12) advances landed on my desk. So thrilling! We have two seasons, Spring and Fall, so this is something that only happens twice a year: a new season commences, hilariously long before the current season is finished to anyone outside the editorial department. The the rest of the world it may feel an awful lot like Fall right now, but for me, Spring has sprung. Which seemed the perfect moment to cast a happy retrospective eye over my F11 bunch of titles--all displayed together for the moment at my desk. Eight books (plus seven foreign language translations of one of them), two boxes of notecards (the pink one is Pretty Polaroid Notes, and the multicolored one is Pantone Notes), plus a watercolor painting kit. All available for your enjoyment here, or here, or here. (Come on, I couldn't resist getting a tiny sales pitch in there somewhere).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Hat

We got back from Raleigh on Friday night, and on Saturday morning Mabel, still on East Coast time, was wide awake at 4:30 AM. So, what the heck, we got up and went for a dawn walk. We got hot chocolate and looked at the newly lit up big tree in Union Square, and then we wandered down Powell Street. By this time it was 7:00 in the morning on the day after Black Friday, and low and behold, the various retailers were throwing their doors open--though there were very few shoppers about--so we popped into a totally deserted, clean and organized H&M and did a little baby shopping for Mabel. It's the best spot to buy super cheap organic cotton long-sleeved onsies, but normally so crowded that you can't get in there with a stroller to save your life. And we also got this hat. Which may well be the cutest hat in the history of the world.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Museum-Goer

The other week we went to San Francisco's very fine Asian Art Museum to see the fancy historical maharajah show, and also the related gallery of cool contemporary work by Sanjay Patel. The museum has wisely chosen to use Patel's eye-catching pieces as visuals for their recent marketing campaign, and here we see baby Mabel hanging out in front of one such banner on the sidewalk outside the museum building. This baby very much likes going to museums--the art sometimes amuses her, but the patrons and museum guards always do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mission Gallery Walk

Took myself on a little gallery walk  down Valencia Street in the Mission yesterday afternoon. Above, Sirron Norris at Sirron Norris. Below the cool new instant/plastic camera shop Photobooth,

Which also has gallery space...

and was showing the lovely images of Chloe Aftel.

 Cool parklet outside Fabric8 

The awesome Ourshelves lending library inside the boutique Viracocha

Mark Giglio at Curiosity Shoppe

William Wolff at Artzone 461

Kara Maria, Justin Amrhein, Megan Whitmarsh, and Hannah Stoufer, all at Michael Rosenthal

Death and Sensuality, a group show of Irish art at Mina Dresden

Sarah Mead at Nooworks

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Poem in the Series about Fall 2005

October 19, 2005
Last night we made what purported to be a simple five ingredient recipe

ancho chilies
stuffed with potatoes
and cheese
and sausage
surrounded by tomato sauce
However this does not take into account
rehydrating the chilies in a bowl of water overnight
(weighted down with a saucer and another bowl)
slicing them open
draining them of all the juice inside
cutting out of their white cores bristling with seeds
wiping out with fingers all the seeds adhering
to the slippery inside of their dark red flesh
I might as well be making jack-o-lanterns out of human hearts
And only then did I my dish of disemboweled chili bodies
ready to be stuffed with the mixture Bill prepared
surrounded by the sauce Bill made
(all in the time it took me just to wrestle the chilies into shape)
and baked in the oven for twenty minutes
and eaten with red wine and bread and butter

Woke up so early this morning
that it reminded me of childhood trips to southern California
the way getting up in the dark to drive all day
brought a feeling of impending adventure

It was stuffy in the apartment
so I sat in an open window after breakfast
the cold air pouring in
drinking my coffee and watching the pre-dawn world
as loud as if I were right out in the dark street
but unobserved
I watched a man smoke a cigarette under a porch light
with all the jittery energy of an insomniac
watched the traffic of which there was plenty
bunches of cabs
empty buses
a town car and a beat up delivery van
cars I liked to imagine were driven by people on their way to work in bakeries

And then the garbage men came
and again memory brushed over me
though ever so gently and from a great distance
how as a small child I loved to watch the garbage men
from the second story porch in east Oakland
in the gray early morning light of summer
wearing some sort of red flannel garment wrapped around my shoulders
The endless possibility of adventure that mornings hold when you’re a kid
the inevitable excitement coming

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clothing Stores Selling Books and Stuff

On my way to work yesterday I noticed the above window at the big Banana Republic flagship store downtown, touting an assortment of holiday gifts from local San Francisco makers. It interested me greatly to note that they have joined the ranks of apparel stores adding gift items (most notably, for me, from a publishing point of view: paper products, though not yet books) to their assortment of stuff they sell. The local angle is also especially nice.

A few months ago I was in Madewell and they were ding something similar--with items from local artisans and also local boutiques such as General Store, Curiosity Shoppe, etc.

Of course, the grandaddy of this practice is Urban Outfitters, who for years have successfully carried everything from nicknacks to lamps to books to cameras alongside their clothing.

But more and more clothing stores seem to be getting in on the act these days, particularly around the holiday season. Another relatively recent entrant is American Eagle--no longer just a clothing store for teenagers in the mall, it has recently expended into all kinds of cool stuff, like the above.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Inspiration Grab Bag

When choosing what book to read next, I often think of myself as following some sort of obscure through-line that connects one book to the next. Its not necessarily anything anyone else would see or follow, but the connections, perhaps thematic, perhaps atmospheric, feel real and organic in my own odd brain. Similarly I can trace connections between the form, color, look, and feel of the visuals that have been inspiring me lately.

Thus the marvelous things crafted by Confetti System (above two images and below)... up in my mind to this piece by Peter Combe...

...which in turn leads me on to the work of Clyfford Still...

...and the newly opened Clyfford Still Museum in Denver...

...which then somehow brings to mind this astonishing image of the stone rhodochrosite...

 ...and the stone seems somehow connected to the fashion that's been on my mind lately, from Hound...

...and Balmain.

I'm indebted for these image finds to Beautiful, Oh Joy, and a couple of my very visually astute coworkers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Umbrella Stroller

Mabel is a slender baby--and this fact allowed her to keep using the same bucket-style stroller/carseat combo she rode in as an infant up until just recently. Indeed, even when we finally did bite the bullet and get rid of it (as a car-free family we were quite attached to its easy in-and-out of all the various cars we ride in), she was still within its weight limit, and exceeding the height limit by just a tiny bit. Mostly, we had to get her out of there so the other one-year-olds would not scoff at her as they cruised around in their umbrella strollers. So now she one of her own, bright red, and she enjoys very much the expanded view of the world it affords.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Richard Serra

Checked out the Richard Serra show at SFMOMA last weekend and it was quite stunning. The images I was able to find online don't really do it justice--I couldn't find one, for instance, that shows what it feels like to stand between two of his monumental black canvasses that reach all the way up to the ceiling, set up facing one another on opposite sides of a relatively small gallery. It's really one of those shows that has to be seen in person. But nonetheless, I do offer the following, just to give you a bit of  a sense of it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Next Installment in the Continuing Poem Series About the Fall of 2005

October 18, 2005
I’ve been thinking a lot

about space and time and freedom
desire and domesticity and duty
geography and authenticity and self

about the state of affairs with Bill’s work
and the dealing we continue to do with it
Which we discussed well over dinner on Friday

about the difference between
being attuned to the unique nature of your own experience
and being self-absorbed

Thoughts that occupy my brain
can sometimes blind me to the world
which is alright since they need to be thought sometime

but I don’t want to miss the closed-up tiny yellow and orange tulips
the man lifting the small girl up onto his shoulders
the smell of sweet onions and garlic browning in butter and olive oil

image source is here

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tweeting for the Weekend

So, I am now on Twitter, in a mostly quasi-professional way--I chat about my books, link to these blog posts, do the whole Friday Reads thing, and so forth. But while the tweeting is sort of fun, what I've found to be much more useful in relation to book publishing is the reading. You wouldn't know it from the bad vapid rep 140-charater messaging receives, but it turns out all kinds of interesting editors, authors, publishers, artists, etc, really are on there, and really do have interesting things to say. Sure, there's a fair bit of flogging of one's own projects (I'd be the first to admit I do that, too!), but there's also quite a lot of interesting publishing gossip and intelligence to be found. And since you control who you follow, you simply don't have to see all the stupid you don't want to see. I realize I'm a bit late to the party on this one--by nature I'm a late adopter. But I've been pleasantly surprised. For instance, the handy site wefollow offers up the most influential tweeters (twitterers? twitizens?) across all kinds of subjects and industries, including publishing (note #12 below, not to shabby for a small independent house!). 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ya Vote!

With sixteen mayoral candidates and half a dozen hotly contested city ballot measures, the sheer volume of junk mail flyers and junk phone calls (both robotic and human--our favorite was last night's call where a computer voice declared "Hello! This is not a robocall!") has been frankly overwhelming. What a relief to step outside on a cool, crisp, sunny autumnal morning, walk down and around the corner to the polling place, stick your absentee ballot directly into the slot in the lid of the big red plastic box, slap your Ya Vote! sticker onto the lapel of your brand new bright blue winter coat and be on your way, secure in the knowledge that your civic duty is done for today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Winged Sprite

Here, as promised, if somewhat belated, is the weekly Polaroid from a week ago, showing Mabel capering about in the street outside our home, trying on her Halloween costume. I must admit am completely enamored of this photo. So. There you go.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Today's art book is a wonderful small volume called Feast (now sadly out of print) by the immensely talented Maria Vettese and Lena Corwin--who publish books by themselves and other artists under the imprint Lines & Shapes. This is one of those books that flips over and tells a different story, in this case in images, from each side. So one half is photos by Maria of sumptuous various dinners (first two images below), and the other half is pictures by Lena of a sweet dessert party (third and forth photo below). It's exactly the kind of real-life food photography I just love. Also tucked inside is a sheet of paper with relevant recipes from each photo essay (couldn't get a decent photo of that to save my life, so you'll just have to imagine it). Oh, and the book comes in a little slipcase sleeve. The whole thing is just utterly charming and pleasing to me. See for yourself--