A Moment of Jen
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Monday, April 15, 2002
posted by Jen at 4/15/2002 11:44:00 AM

Greetings from Los Angeles, where we have much to report, starting with my first celebrity sighting: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, outside of the Coffee Bean in Larchmont. They were all dressed up, with kids in tow, and I tried not to gawk, but probably wound up gawking. It was very cool....and it also trumps my mother, who saw Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Ben Stiller, and Ben Stiller's pregnant wife at the Chateau Marmont during her last visit (and, I guarantee, wound up gawking even more than I did).

The weird news of the day -- they're giving away audio versions of GOOD IN BED on this website for long-distance truckers. No kidding. Yay, truckers!

So. Fabulous reading on Friday night in Austin. Lots of people who all laughed in the right places, which is pretty much all I ever ask of anyone. That, and good Mexican food.

Saturday morning wake-up call at 4:30 a.m.. Ugh. I got to the airport by 5:20, flew to Los Angeles, got here at 8:30, went directly to my hotel room, ignored 150-page FedEx from agent containing pages of IN HER SHOES, and crashed. Then woke up and did drop-ins. All the California bookstores have lots and lots of copies. Not sure whether this is a good sign, or a sign that Hollywood and its denizens are roundly rejecting me.

Then I did a writers' workshop at Vroman's, which is a huge, fabulous bookstore in Pasadena. I read there last spring when the hardcover came out, and it was such a treat to come back. There were forty people there (my brother Jake was like, "Is that a lot?" I told him that it absolutely was).

The theme of the workshop dealt with real life and fiction -- that is, how you take the raw material of your own dysfunctional family, unhappy love life, and low self esteem, and transmute it into funny, vibrant prose. And not get sued. My short answer -- lots and lots of drafts, so that there's time for the characters to evolve from real life into fictional creations. That way, the guy who starts off as your miserable bastard of an ex can move farther and farther away from real life, and closer and closer to Satan himself. When you move away from your own life, things get funnier, sadder, more interesting, and, paradoxically, more true. Go figure. The reading went really well.

And then I had dinner with some friends and my brother and his wife-to-be, and had Sunday brunch at my brother and his wife-to-be's apartment in Hancock Park, which is by far the nicest, least LA-feeling neighborhood I've seen out here. Then went back to the hotel room and applied myself to the 150-page FedEx, which is what I'm doing now.

If you're in the area and want to see me tonight, I'm at Dutton's in Brentwood. Be there....I promise I'll be brief, so we can all go home and watch The Bachelor.
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