Hello everybody, I'm back from San Francisco. You know, I am a deeply east coast girl, stewed in Chester County, Pennsylvania (for details of this place, check out Kate Walbert's Our Kind, which is set in my hometown) and a boarding school trial by fire, etc, but I lived in San Francisco for a long time, it was a really magical exploration for me in my twenties.

Not just the pretty precious parts of it, but the weird suburban outposts where some of the CA native artists (because let's be honest--half of San Francisco itself then and these days as well is just in from Wesleyan) had to live in their parents' in-law apartments to get by on their DJ gigs, to the BART going past West Oakland shipyards and Victorians in a line, to the uncannily green hills in winter, to the way peoples faces and hair are closer to the same color than they are here (my explanation: lack of pressure to get to the salon, plus sun). To the schools, so underfunded there was no chalk, on the fringes of the city you had to take three buses to get to. To the weird evergreen/dogpoop/laundry detergent smell of Duboce Park which I lived near in 1995. My house on Hayes was pink and my house on Duboce was aqua and now they are both as beige as can be. Although, I must say, the little restaurants I love, like Kate's Kitchen on lower Haight, for example, are still there, or the infamous Burma Super Star on Clement--these little places have remained, in large part, and I guess I kind of expected them to be gone, changed, gobbled up, as disappeared as the landscape in Chester County. Strange: it feels like California is changing much more slowly than we are here.

I got home to find a review copy of Tori Amos: Piece by Piece waiting for me, and it is in fact all that. I'm so glad Ann Powers is coming to read from this book for us on February 25. Am I allowed to quote from this book on here? Well I am sure some of our readers over at Random House will give me a snap if it's not cool. There's a whole chapter, of course, on Mary Magdalene, which was the first bit Tori submitted to the folks at Doubleday for review. In a conference room on Broadway, surrounded by DaVinci Code promotional material, they gave her the thumbs up to her great relief. Tori says:
And as I looked around at all The Da Vinci Code paraphernalia surrounding me, I glanced up at my publishers and asked, "So then why aren't you guys aggressively seeking to publish the Gospel of Mary Magdalene?"

They looked at me as if I were speaking an alien language and said, "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the Gospel of Mary Magdalene."

With shock they responded, "As in the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Gospels?"

I said, "That is exactly what I'm talking about--a real Gospel, from her perspective."

"Do you mean it was written by her?" they asked.

"Well, no one can prove who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or any of the Gospels. But yes, there is a Gospel attributed to the Magdalene."

"Well when did this happen? Why didn't we hear anything about it?"

"It was discovered in 1895."

My publisher looked over at one of his twelve disciples and said, "Get on the phone with the religion department."
Tori! What a Cupcake. She starts nosing around the publishing world and by her first meeting in the fortress she's boosting other women writers. What a Cupcake, this one.


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