Postcard from Tucson

Another week, another 7,000 words down. Not so bad, really considering I was swept into the maelstrom of vacationing with family in Arizona for the Thanksgiving holiday. By the way, happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – all about food, family, fun, and gratitude. You can’t do better than that for a holiday.

My two sisters and I and my parents all went to see New Moon again (second time for me and my older sister) on Thanksgiving night after glutting ourselves on the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin chiffon pie.

While we were sitting in the theater, my older sister, who we’ve decided is a confirmed “momager,” was checking people’s Facebook status updates on her iPhone, or whatever similar gadget she’s got. Everyone was writing in and saying things they were thankful for. Being the jaded, world-weary sophisticates we are, we spent the minutes before the previews making fun of them. After the movie, we agreed we were all quite thankful for that one part where Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off. (Not that Taylor Lautner is anywhere near as hot as my husband, of course.)

I always forget how beautiful Tucson is. I’d been thinking about Tucson a lot because the first half of my book that I’m working on now is set there. Strangely, that makes it feel a bit like research, to be on vacation here.

In any case, Friday we all went for a hike up Romero Canyon, and there was water in the black pools at the top. It’s a bit tricky getting over from the trail’s end to the pools, with all the steep rocks around them. On the way out I had a dramatic fall and barely caught a handhold to keep myself from sliding down the rockface and hitting my head – it was like in the movies when someone falls from a ledge and you think they’re dead, but then the camera shifts and you see they’re still just barely holding onto the ledge by three fingers. Now I have some badass scratches on my ribs and hands and shoulder.

We were all panting and dusty and bedraggled by the time we got home. Then we went out for dinner at Cafe Poca Cosa, which I highly recommend. My parents took home two pints of their fresh salsa.

Afterwards my sisters and I went out to this bar called Plush on 4th Avenue, which I’d never been to before, but liked a lot. It was full of hip-looking people whose conversations I wanted to eavesdrop on. It felt like forever since I’d actually gone out to a bar for drinks and conversation with other grownups. I don’t think I’ve done that since Amandine was born, and it felt great, the only depressing part being that we were probably among the oldest people there.

Then, bright and early this morning, we went on an expedition to Kartchner Caverns. Taking the tour reminded me of how, in high school and college, I always loved it when a teacher or other smart person would sit down with me and explain to me a complicated film or novel or poem or painting or piece of classical music, so that I could see better what was so special and beautiful about it. The tour was kind of like that. We went in there and I was like, “Yawn. A cave.” But then we learned all kinds of fascinating things about the rock formations, which had cool names like “bacon” and “fried eggs” and “soda straws.” So I really enjoyed it, along with the drive through the beautiful Tucson desert.

Tonight we’re eating at one of my favorite restaurants here, Primo. Yum, that definitely puts me in a thankful mood.

I’m also thankful because, in writing news, I entered my first novel in the St. Martin’s Press contest for New Adult Fiction last week (“new adult” is a freshly invented category of books that fall between young adult and old adult fiction, and doesn’t have anything to do with the subject matter of “adult” films).  Although I didn’t win, I did get a referral to a really good agent out of it and got to send off some chapters and a synopsis. So, many thanks and a big shoutout to Georgia McBride and her site, YALitchat.

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