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Thisbe Nissen: Tour Diary

Preliminaries - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 -
Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 -Day 12 - Day 13 - Day 14 - Day 15 -
Day 16 - Day 17 - Day 18 - Day 19 - Day 20 - Day 21 - Day 22 -
Day 23 - Day 24 - Day 25 - Day 26 - Day 27 - Day 28 - Day 29 - Home Diary - July 25 - July 26

Day 21: Portland, OR

Oh it's hard to get up. But there's a 9 am phone interview with the Jewish Weekly (which goes fine) and breakfast to eat (good granola, profoundly mediocre coffee considering we're in the Northwest). We putter awhile, then fall back to sleep. Only to be awakened by the phone.

Other person: "Hello, this is Diana."
Me: "Um, hi, um, who are you looking for?"
Her: "I'm here for an 11:30 interview with Thisbe Nissen."
Me: "You are!?"
Her: "Yes, I'm sorry, maybe I have the wrong..."
Me: "No, no, I'm Thisbe Nissen, I just...no one... there's just nothing on my schedule about an interview today."
Her: "There isn't? I've had this arranged for months. Thisbe Nissen at 11:30, Myla Goldberg at noon."
Me: "Does Myla know she has an interview?"
Her: "I hope so..."

(it goes on like this)

Which is to say: she comes up to the room (because this is a taped thing for radio and it must be done in the room for acoustic purposes) which I've madly tried to clean in the time it takes her to get up the elevator and I squirrel Chris away behind a sliding door in the bedroom area. (He later says that all he could see through the crack was one enormous microphone.) The interview takes all of ten minutes, and I have the sense that the interviewer is somewhat disappointed in me. When she asks me what my biggest hopes are for this book I imagine she wants me to say that I dream of being on Oprah, so when I say that I hope that the people who read it like it and maybe take something away from it, she says, "That's cool," but it sounds more like a consolation for my paltry dreams. I think I am not the person she thought I was going to be. Maybe she was expecting Miranda.

Chris and I drive over to Erin's and he goes walking on Hawthorne, checking out music shops while E and I work on our Cookbook edits. Paranoia takes over every time we look at it now: who is going to sue us? Can we really use this picture of my sixth grade boyfriend's toe without infringing on his rights? Do we need to get permission to use the envelope of a letter Krista wrote me from New Zealand? We decide that you can never be too paranoid. This makes need for a lot of permission waivers.

I leave Chris with E and go meet very pregnant Jenny for Italian sodas before the reading. She's due in a month and we get to talk names, which is always my favorite topic. It's a girl. I suggest Hazel. She likes it. We will wait to see how the husband feels.

The reading is well attended by people who adore Myla. It's quite hot in the room and the mike keeps tipping over ("erectile dysfunction," our host, a very nice woman, calls it). Everyone has questions for Myla. I try to make my look tell the audience that they don't have to feel bad for not asking me questions, I understand that they've all read and loved Myla's book (after all, I read and loved Myla's book too!) and they don't know me from Pippi Longstocking. There's a line of people waiting for Myla at the end and I wander off to talk with Chris and E and Jenny. And then, suddenly, a whole troop of women come over, bearing my book in their arms. They have decided, they tell me, on the spur of the moment, and based on my reading, to make Good People their next book club choice. I want to hug them all. Instead I sign their books. This, I tell myself, is more professional.

Myla convinces her author-guide to let her come out with us after the reading. We have to promise to get her back to the hotel safe and sound. Then we pile into E's car and head over to Colin's place where the plan is for E to do some haircutting. Everyone needs it: Chris hasn't had a haircut since Erin did his in February in NY. Erin's sure she left her haircutting scissors at Colin's the last time she cut his hair, but when Colin brings out the scissors she he thinks are hers they turn out to be tiny plastic handled ones that wouldn't cut a tissue. The rooftop haircutting party fizzles.

We decide to go hear some jazz instead. Off to a club. Over the music Myla and Colin scream at each other about Tom Stoppard (they both love him; it's the level of the music that's making them scream, not their views of Stoppard.) There's a paper tablecloth and crayons and Myla and Colin start having their conversation in writing from across the table instead. Myla, in particular, is very good at writing upside down.