This weekend I’ll be traveling to New York–barring a hurricane-caused disruption–for the launch of Triangle Square Books, a new children’s and YA nonfiction imprint from Seven Stories Press.
Seven Stories is the publisher of my YA adaptation of Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, as well as my new YA adaptation of Ronald Takaki’s history of multicultural America, A Different Mirror. Seven Stories has long been committed to publishing progressive books on politics, history, and social and environmental justice. I believe Triangle Square will fill an important need, and I can’t wait to see what books they will be offering to young readers.
. . . in the making of this campsite. The big stump was there when we arrived. There was one twice as big just across the road.
Zachary and I recently returned from a California road trip. We spent most of it camping, hiking, swimming, and canyoneering (including a crawl along a lovely cold cave stream) in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Awesome places, and much less visited than Yosemite.
We saw a lot of big trees. Really big. We almost saw bears–while we were pitching the campsite in the photo, two bears strolled through the campground, a small and almost unoccupied one near the end of the long and bumpy road to Mineral King, a high alpine area that ended up being my favorite part of Sequoia. We heard about the bears later from the other camper there; we had apparently been too busy untangling our tent poles to notice.
One of the best parts of the trip was the evening we climbed Moro Rock shortly before sunset. Four thousand feet above the valley floor we gazed at lavender alpenglow on the crags of the Great Western Divide, across a dusky gulf of air filled with swallows. (I thought with a chill of the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn.)
After leaving the parks we headed to Marin and Sonoma counties for Z’s high-school reunion (oh, the stories I heard!) and a stroll down memory lane as Z showed me various places he’d lived. Then we drove up the coast through the redwood forests–more big trees!–and eventually home.
The worst part of the trip was when the car’s AC crapped out on the first day. Most of the time we were okay without it, but our itinerary required us to make two long traverses of “the valley”–and now I fully understand, and share, the contempt with which that phrase is usually uttered. It was 106 in Fresno when we passed through, and the whole region is as bleak, dusty, and cheerless as the Plains of Mordor. But the mountains and the coast more than made up for it.
Actually, that may not have been the worst part of the trip. My publisher went out of business while we were on vacation–but that’s another story.
I kind of fell in love with LA this time around.
Zachary and I returned on Wednesday from a few days there. The trip was his idea, inspired by (1) the massive art event known as Pacific Standard Time, and (2) $40 one-way fares between Portland and Santa Ana.
We spent the first night at the Crystal Cove Beach Cottages in Laguna, having wandered in on spec. We scored a fantastic room due to a last-minute cancellation; these places are booked six months in advance. After that we moved up to Santa Monica. Our time was crammed with museum visits and art shows. My highlights were the California Design show at LACMA, which features the living room from the Eames House; my first visit to the Getty Center, extraordinary in itself, never mind the art it holds; and an unexpectedly fascinating show at the Laguna Art Museum about the art department at UC Irvine in the late 60s, when people like Chris Burden were doing insane, amazing stuff. We also spent time with our friend Magda and had dinner one evening with one of Z’s old friends from his LA years: a woman he hadn’t seen for twenty-five years. Her husband and I were vastly entertained and slightly aghast at their reminiscences about those addled times.
I’ve been in LA before, but this time I really loved it. The weather was perfect: mild temps, blue skies, and one rainstorm that didn’t interfere with our activities but scrubbed the air until it sparkled. Another benefit was that Z, who lived there for seven years and knows his way around, did most of the driving. All in all, I wouldn’t want to live there, as they say, but it’s a great place to visit. We’ll go back when we can catch another bargain fare.