People ask me, “why Iowa,” when they learn that Ed, Avy and I left San Francisco earlier this year. Their faces scrunch and I smile. Why not? People are friendly here. Friends offer to pick up your paper when you travel when your delivery man can’t get with the on-vacation program. Neighborhood kids play together calling out to one another gleefully on the streets. Neighbors offer to mow your lawn and shovel your snow. There are four seasons. Trails to ride bikes. Woods to hike. I can wax poetic.
But more than all those things I love and appreciate about Iowa, I can drive to Peoria to see family and friends, to Chicago to hang with more friends, take a longer drive to New Mexico.
So, if you are still reading, you might understand why five hours before one of my favorite authors spoke at Mager & Quinn bookstore in Minneapolis, I got in the car and hightailed it up there to see her read from and discuss her new book, Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.
I have had the privilege to study with Dani Shapiro on many occasions. I have read her memoirs Slow Motion and Devotion two times each. I’m well into a second reading of Hourglass. Her writing informs and inspires mine. She is a quiet, centered and a thoughtful woman. An author I could listen to for hours on end. “Seems a long way to drive to see Dani,” a friend said to me as I spoke to her speeding up the I-35. Its is never a long way to go to see Dani. A writer of fiction and memoir, I hope you’ll sit down and read one, or all of her books.