Every year I get a flu shot.  Without fail, I'm one of the first persons to go to the doctor or the pharmacy that is giving them out.  I never skip this. I have issues with nausea, and the idea of languishing in bed waiting for nausea/fever/chills/respiratory illness is more than I can handle. 

We had a warm winter up until a few weeks ago, when the temperatures plummeted.  For a girl who's lived in Alaska, and is familiar with minus temperatures, you'd think it would be no problem for me.  But I've felt colder in Santa Fe than I ever did in Anchorage.

My dear friend, the novelist, Wilton Barnhardt, came though shortly after Christmas, and as is our tradition, met at El Farol, one of the oldest bars in town, to have tapas.  Wilton and I used to cook together when we both lived in California.  So many great memories.  He is a veritable genius, and his books, Gospel, Emma Who Saved My Life, and Show World, are all in print.  He studied at Oxford.  His new book, Look Away, Look Away, is forthcoming from St. Martin's soon.  I can't wait to read it.

We had a lovely time, eating, talking food, travel, books, photographs, growing older, cowboy boots, his teaching, my teaching: everything Wilton does is on a grand scale.  He was driving back to North Carolina, so we hugged goodbye, and he snapped this photo of me in the parking lot at the top of Canyon Road. A couple of days later, I thought I was catching a cold. Soon I had a 101 fever, and felt really awful.  Then the bone-racking cough arrived.  I saw the doctor and she prescribed antibiotics for my cough.  She gave my husband, who was also coughing, Tamiflu.  Lucky dog.  He was sick for about 4 days, but bounced back quickly.  I got worse.

After a breathing treatment at Urgent Care, I was sent home with an inhaler.  A couple days after that, I returned to my regular doctor, who said I had walking pneumonia, and received a second inhaler.  I'm still recovering. It's made me think about my life more deeply than ever before.  I have prioritized my writing.  I'm added hours to my day for reading.  And this blog, which I hope to keep current, I'll talk about new books I've read.  Sort of a free book review site.  Hope you enjoy it.

The chocolate cupcakes were snapped up quickly at my launch party at Collected Works on October 6th.  Writer and former student Judi Hendricks put together a set of scintillating questions for a great conversation.  I was pleased to see friends in the chairs and even more so to sign books.  Actual books are rare these days.  Some people--I'm one of them--can't let go of the old fashioned kind you hold in your hand.  There is something unmistakably wonderful about cracking open an unread book.  The last two books I bought were Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, a book beloved by my writer friends, one I somehow missed, and Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox.  I try to buy at least one writer I haven't heard of every time I go book shopping.  Probably silly, but I like new writing and feel a responsibility as a teacher to keep up with trends so as to help new writersand also see what's meaningful the generations after me.

I wrote an article for New Mexico Magazine on Santa Fe Style, which about killed me.  I have the utmost respect for journalists.  Their writing is so very different from fiction.  Which is a sly way of saying it was VERY HARD for me and as a result for Tired Husband, too.  Monday they are sending a photographer to my house.  They want me to dress up in vintage Western clothing, which should be fun.  Keeping the tiny greyhounds from biting, pooping, and or making a terrible racket should be the hardest part.  I've been shopping for a few new togs on EBay.  Not a lot of call for me to dress up, but I sure do enjoy it.  My latest find was a mid-thigh length military coat that has beaded, fringed epaulets.  I bought a yellow three tier skirt at Dillard's to go with it. My Old Gringop Golandritas will make a perfect complement.  And speaking of Old Gringo...

Guess where I'm headed while in California next week?  I'll tell you after I've been there and back.  I am so excited to see where I'm going.

Reading: ARC of Cinthia Ritchie's first novel, Dolls Behaving Badly
Watching: Season 4 of Breaking Bad
Wondering: How my son is doing in Bethel, AK, where he is at his first job of being an RN (Winter is Coming)
Anticipating: My mom's upcoming 90th birthday, getting back to writing Owen's Daughter
Hoping: For some decent book sales so I can afford the tiny greyhounds, World Peace.

More later,
The highlight of my day was a maple bacon cupcake from CoCopelli Cupcakes in Santa Fe. Buttercream frosting and a spicy cake, topped with bacon--is there anything better? Tired Husband tried the cinnamon apple cupcake, which was also a big hit. Why should you come to my book launch party this Saturday at 3 PM at Collected Works Bookstore?  Because I've ordered 2 dozen vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for the event. In addition to eating cupcakes, I will be engaging in a literary conversation with Judi Hendricks, another Santa Fe writer, and a former student when I still lived in California. Judi lives in THE Stamm house, a traditionally built territorial style home with a mural by Pop Chalee, a noted Taos Pueblo artist.

Otherwise, I've been busy writing a story for New Mexico Magazine on Santa Fe style.  Apparently I have it.  I've been trying to nail down the origins of Santa Fe style all week.  Talk about complex.  The influences come from all directions.  Pueblo Indians traded with a variety of travelers. Then the Spanish arrived.  In exchange for corn, beans, and pottery, the Indians received velvet.  Westward ho, came from the East, and Victorian styles came along.  That's  a nutshell version of my very complicated story.  Talking about it is a lot easier than writing about it.

In dog news, Rufous hasn't stolen much this week, but as he would be the first to tell you, the week isn't over yet.  I'm trying to learn how to use the blog feature on my new website.  I don't know if I'll write anything interesting here, other than random thoughts.  Soon I'll head off to Arizona and California for a few book signings and then my mom's 90th birthday celebration.  Put enough Mapsons in one room and you never know what will happen.  There is a Duffy boat ride on the books, and Sprinkles cupcakes, I love the vanilla ones, and will report on that as it unfolds.

Here's what I'm reading: How the West Was Worn, JK Rowling's Casual Vacancy, and finished Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio.  Watching: Season 3 of Breaking Bad. Activity: Cleaning out closet, folding laundry, bidding on EBay vintage boots, jackets and checking my Amazon.com standing every 30 minutes. 

Yours in Neuroses Galore,

    Mapson and Rufus
    Jo-Ann and Rufous the felon
    Hi.  I’m Jo-Ann Mapson, writer and the author of 11 novels.  My latest book is Finding Casey, from Bloomsbury Publishers.  I teach in University of Alaska Anchorage’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.  I’m owned by three Italian greyhounds, Henry, Piper & Rufous, and married to the love of my life, artist Stewart Allison.  I’m addicted to 2 things: Diet Cherry Coke and Old Gringo Boots.


    January 2013
    October 2012