As Sweet As Honey Tour

Food and Books, in Lambertville

English: Indian spice

English: Indian spice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, I gave a reading at a lively event. It was at Anton’s at the Swan Hotel, housed in a building from 1870 furnished with curiosities and memorabilia, in New Jersey, where a once month, a dinner is given at once price, with one menu, to an enthusiastic crowd. The events are put together by the very graciously hostess, Miss Maxwell, and this one was suggested to her by my old friend Diane.

I read for my supper, and what a supper it was. Two long tables holding seventeen place settings were placed in a room covered with silks and chiffon from India. The tables held a long beguiling row of carefully potted marigold pots. In between the first (spinach and lentil soup garnished with a bright cucumber-tomato mix) and second course (baighan bartha, mango chutney, flat bread and basmati), prepared expertly (and deliciously, to the surprise of my family) by Chef Chris Connors,I read. After munching on cumin-seed shortbread and sipping strawberry lassi, I signed books, surrounded by family and friends, all under the painted gaze of British royalty.

I’d to return, to sip a martini or fauxtini, look for the John Cleese photo, as Diane suggests, and explore more of the Swan.

Texas, Cambridge, & Home

Texas Wildflowers

Texas Wildflowers (Photo credit: TexasEagle)

Indira Ganesan, Cambridge Tulips, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Cambridge Tulips, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Welcome Home, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Welcome Home, 2013

Returning from a near week of travel, I was happy to see the welcome committee of brave tulips at home;a scraggly bunch to be sure, but a welcome sight.

College Station, Texas has wildflowers in bloom, though I missed the best of the blue bonnets, I was told.  It was a surprise, for I did not know what to expect in my first trip to Texas.  I overheard a man ask another about his boots, and the conversation turned from admiration to a tale about cowhide. I passed up the opportunity to visit the George Bush Library, but I did see the terrific Women Call For  Peace : Global Vistas exhibit in the gorgeous art gallery at Texas A & M University, a beautiful collection of vivid imagery by Siona Benjamin; Helen Zughaib;  Aminah Robinson; Faith Ringgold, Judy Chicago, and others. As the gallery notes, ” world-wide military spending is above $1.2 trillion annually; while the peace-keeping budget at the United Nations in 2009 was only $7.9 million.”

I see blue people. (and artist siona Benjamin )

I see blue people. (and artist siona Benjamin ) (Photo credit: doodlehed

Story Quilt Detail:  Faith Ringgold

Story Quilt Detail: Faith Ringgold (Photo credit: cobalt123)

The professors of the South Asia Group, English, and Women Studies departments took extraordinarily good care of me, and I found myself dining on dosa, idlis, and laddoos, a true feasting, especially as my idea of dinner is often a grilled cheese these days.  A well-attended reading, a large-group version of telling matriarchal ancestor stories, and good South Indian coffee rounded out a delightful weekend.

Boston was bittersweet, not because only because so much happened a week ago, but also because I gave my last classes.  It is always difficult to say goodbye to a group of people I have seen regularly twice a week for sixteen weeks; we have written together and talked about fiction, and got to know one another a little.  This is a special class, for it was the first that I shared my publishing story as it unfolded in real-time with a new book (so far, a kind of once in a blue mon event for me) and one in which they, but not I, were in a city-wide lockdown.

The small things always go together with the large, and if it were not for grammar (the infinite space a semi-colon provides , the rueful continuity of an ellipses) I know not what we would do. Thus, in  Cambridge,  I discovered a new cafe which encouraged a spate of writing, lusted after some vegan bags at a store, watched some dance on campus programs. I got charged twice as much for a cab ride to the station, but the day was too nice to complain. My bus arrived on time, only to have the driver tell some of us that it was full, and we needed to wait for the next one.  Always an adventure on the bus, but I can’t help wondering: was it because I decided to catch the “next” bus instead of revisiting the vegan shoe and bag store as I intended?

Home, I returned local library books , only to realize I have a few more to return in Boston.  The rent is paid, grades and bills are due, and the summer soon awaits.  I hear that this is a funny time for Saturn, so maybe that accounts for restlessness.  Still,  a good time to concentrate on writing.  Isn’t it always?

Then, Arugula

I rode the bus to Denver and passed the stadium where Rockies fans were roaring, long after the cows and calves and mountains on route. My friend Cynthia met me and showed me around her town before my reading at Tattered Cover. We visited the site of the Before I Die I Want To______project by Candy Chang, in which we wrote out in chalk, alongside dozens of others, our wishes. Then we took in the art museum, the Public Library, all exteriors as I marveled at the architecture of this city. Udi’s Cafe where pizza with arugula and juices was delicious provided a satisfying meal before the reading at Tattered Cover.  I am still dazzled by events coordinator Pat’s warm welcome, and the deliciousness of Tattered Cover itself, a bookstore for readers and writers. A look at the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art as well as its wonderful El Anatsui exhibit.  A city offers riches too much to take in a day, which I suppose is why cities thrive.

Cynthia Morris, Viewing Before I Die Project, Denver, 2013

Cynthia Morris, IG Viewing Before I Die Project, Denver, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Anonymous Couple(to me) in front of Denver Public Library, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Anonymous Couple(to me) in front of Denver Public Library, 2013

Indira Ganesan, El Anatsui: when I Dreamed of Africa,  Denver Art Museum, 2013

Indira Ganesan, El Anatsui: when I Dreamed of Africa, Denver Art Museum, 2013

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Cynthia Morris, IG & Tattered Cover billboard, 2013

Cynthia Morris, IG & Tattered Cover billboard, 2013

Cynthia Morris, IG with Tattered Cover customer & Pat, 2013

Cynthia Morris, IG with Tattered Cover customer & Pat, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Rachel's Flowers, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Rachel’s Flowers, 2013

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