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Jessica Anya Blau's Blog

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I met James (Jim) Magruder in a café in my neighborhood where I write.  His book SUGARLESS was days away from coming out.  He was so charming in person that I bought his book immediately and devoured it in hours.  It is hilarious, touching, elegantly written, and wonderfully shameless.  Not...
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Larry Doyle is the author of the best-selling book, I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER.  He also produced and wrote The Simpsons for several years, wrote Beavis and Butthead, was the entertainment editor at New York Magazine and wrote a bunch of Hollywood movies.  Oh, and he regularly writes very funny pieces...
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A friend from Tennessee told me I should interview Audrey Braun.  I had never heard of her though her name sounded vaguely familiar.  A week later her book, A SMALL FORTUNE, and a stack of European tabloids (L’Espresso, Bild, Paris Match, and the Daily Mirror) showed up in a box at my door.   I...
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I was a bit lost after college and had no idea what I wanted to do other than hang out with my boyfriend, drink mochas while reading the thick Sunday San Francisco Chronicle, and travel around Europe sitting in bustling cafes where I could look at people.  This isn't to say I wasn't a hard worker,...
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Steve Yarbrough's newest novel, SAFE FROM THE NEIGHBORS, has one murder, more than one affair, and white people taking up arms to prevent African-American James Meredith from enrolling at Ole Miss.  Richard Russo says the book will, "take your breath away."  Ron Rash calls it "a...
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Sometime in the 1970s before my father became a voluntary mute, before my mother started going to the nude beach and growing marijuana, before my sister, Becca, was anorexic and before my brother, Josh, created a second home for himself on a platform three-stories high up a eucalyptus tree, we were...
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The summer I was twelve, our neighbors, the Lunds, went on a cruise for two weeks while their college-aged son, Toby, stayed in their house.  The Lunds were as friendly with us as anyone else on our hilltop cul de sac, waving at my parents when they pulled up in the driveway, chatting with my...
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    Rikky was skinny.  The way Michael Jackson was skinny.  All rubbery, loose, yet with enough gristle and sinew to look like a man.  And he danced like Michael Jackson, too.  On the marble steps of our apartment building in Oakland, California, he’d spin, make a little ch ch sound and...
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When I was growing up, my parents had a fairly loose policy of not driving me, my sister, or my brother around town.  We biked to the dentist and doctor.  To go anywhere else-school, the beach, the movies-we walked, rode the bus, roller skated, and hitch-hiked (the method of choice in high school...
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You might remember my mother, Bonnie Blau, from the interview I did with her earlier this year.  We talked about the fact that she thinks she looks like Bruce Springsteen.  You can read that interview here.  As a follow up, here's an interview with my mother where I ask her about one of my favorite...
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My mother gave my father a Diane Arbus photo book for his birthday the year I was ten and he was thirty-four. The entire family (Mom, Dad, my older sister, Becca, and my younger brother, Josh) gathered around and slowly waded through it, picture by picture.  The pages were thick and glossy and...
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Nahid Rachlin at the Cross Keys Hotel in Baltimore.
Persian Girls is a memoir but reads like the best fiction.  There is so much suspense in this story, that I frequently found myself flipping to Nahid's biography in the back to remind myself that she survived it all and is now safely ensconced in the multi-cultural nest of New York City.  As the...
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We were in my brother-in-law's car.  A big, German, expensive car which my grandmother would have called "fancy."  My brother-in-law, Ike, was driving, his apricot toy poodle perched on his forearm, front paws on the open window.  His favorite CD, The Best of Air Supply, was playing and...
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Too Much Stuff
Scott and I met in our early twenties.  We were in college, neither of us had either a phone or a television-we thought this was an interesting commonality.   I rented a shabby room a couple blocks from the Berkeley campus.  Scott lived in the gardeners' quarters of an estate.  There was a live-in...
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1. GOOD: You are not freaked out by the human body in all its shapes and forms—you have seen so many naked people that you understand that nudity is a normal human condition.  This comes in handy when you have to help a sick hospitalized friend navigate some intimate part of her body with tubes and...
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