Dinner Conversation. What do an author and a professor discuss over dinner?

Dinner with the two of us? It didn't start out well. We’d been dating a few months, and I think my mother wanted me to impress him with my cooking skills. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any.
-- Tribeza, August, 2016

A Sisterhood of Memories

I know the accepted wisdom: Making new friends takes longer as you age. After all, you’re busier, more set in your ways, less open to novelty.
-- The New York Times, October 29, 2015

Mother of the Bride

While my daughter looked toward her future, I thought back on my own four decades of marriage (so far)—the good, the bad, the better than I ever expected.
-- Texas Monthly, July, 2014

She’ll Take Manhattan, but Hold the Jeans

DARKNESS fell on a brisk Saturday night, and droves of the young and the raucous flooded the entrance and lobby of the Dream Downtown hotel in Chelsea. It happened to be my hotel for this stay, since I’d gotten a killer deal on the Internet.

"Good lord," said Pat, a New York friend, eyeing the eager faces, the stilettos, the sheer force field of energy. "Is anybody here over the age of 18?"
-- The New York Times, March 22, 2012

Brooklyn, in Thick and Thin (Crust)

THE big white bus is leaving. If you’re one of those ignorant souls who thinks New York City is limited to Manhattan and its cold, imperious skyscrapers, you should hop aboard.
-- The New York Times, March 8, 2012

Survivors Bond Over a Grueling Play

OVER her crevettes Marseillaise, the author and blogger Jen Singer is telling me about the tumor she had in her left lung. “It was the size of a softball,” she says.

She and I are online acquaintances who had never met in the flesh before. But we’re both cancer survivors, and we are going to see the Broadway play “Wit” together. Our respective tumor sizes count as small talk.
-- The New York Times, February 16, 2012

The City, Inside Yet Out

DON’T think David Roffe is only a New York City tour guide.

He’s also an actor who has appeared on “Law & Order” three times — most memorably in 13 consecutive seconds as an accused murderer of a college student. “You’ve got the wrong guy, dude,” he told the law, in a speaking role he nailed in only two takes.
-- The New York Times, November 17, 2011

Following a Child of the City

“MY love affair with New York,” Marc Aronson says, “is a continuation of my parents’ love affair with New York.”
-- The New York Times, November 3, 2011

All Those Great Stories, Crying to Be Overheard

Come here to sightsee? It’s fine, I guess. You can catch the towering buildings, the store windows, the stunning bridges, the leafy parks. And yes, they’re impressive and staggering.

But to me New York is most of all a city of people and their stories... -- The New York Times, October 20, 2011

Monday, So Good to Me

WHEN my husband and I moved to New York for several months in August 2009, we were told repeatedly that “nobody” was in the city in August. We wandered around the crowded streets, marveling at the number of nobodies everywhere.
-- The New York Times, August 25, 2011

Newest New Yorkers at Play

THEY are young, talented and driven: artists who want to make their mark on the world. You see them in New York more than any other city in the country, and their New York is different from yours and mine. It’s hipper and faster paced, open to experience. If they want to see a folk-singing duo, and their iPhones tell them to cross two highway lanes on foot to get there, consider them crossed.
-- The New York Times, August 11, 2011

Where Lone Stars Don’t Feel So Alone

"TEXANS make the best New Yorkers," Robert Leleux says loudly. "It's because we’re bred for size. New Yorkers appreciate that — our extravagance. We wouldn't play so well in Indiana."
-- The New York Times, June 23, 2011

The Mediocre Multitasker

Read it and gloat. Last week, researchers at Stanford University published a study showing that the most persistent multitaskers perform badly in a variety of tasks. They don't focus as well as non-multitaskers. T hey're more distractible. They're weaker at shifting from one task to another and at organizing information. They are, as a matter of fact, worse at multitasking than people who don't ordinarily multitask.
-- The New York Times Week in Review, August 29, 2009

Throne Occupied; Try a Comfy Recliner

On Friday, Charles, the Prince of Wales, turned 60.

Sixty! If you think that birthday is tough for most baby boomers - who struggle with desperate rationalizations about whether they're young-old or old-young, and whether 60 might possibly be the new 40 - think about Charles. He's now been the heir apparent to the British throne for 56 years, waiting to be King of England since 1952.
-- The New York Times Week in Review, November 15, 2008

Having Cancer, and Finding a Personality

They say cancer changes you. They may be right. When I found out I had breast cancer 12 years ago, I became a comedian.

Not the kind anyone paid to see. Just the kind who lurked around hospital corridors and examination rooms offering offbeat opinions, wiseacre remarks, outrageous commentary.
-- The New York Times, August 11, 2008

‘Sex’ and the Pink Ribbon

All right, we admit it. We’re not traditional "Sex and the City" types.

We’re five women from Austin, Tex. (wrong number, right sex, wrong city), who range from our late 40s to early 60s (wrong demographics; too old). Our shoes are conservative and our politics are liberal (wrong, right).
-- The New York Times Week in Review, June 1, 2008

Surviving Alone

By the time you read this, I’ll be 58.

I’m the same age as Red China and millions of other American Baby Boomers. Viewed broadly, my age is no big deal.

More specifically, though, I’m surprised to be 58 and in apparent good health. It’s shocking to me when I find myself looking at a future that may stretch into my sixties, seventies and even eighties.
-- Heal: Living Well After Cancer, Summer 2008

We’re Big, We’re Back, We’re Texas

SOMEWHERE, Ann Richards and Molly Ivins — bless their big, demanding hearts and rest their impatient souls — must be sharing non-alcoholic margaritas and crowing with delight. Their beloved Texas Democrats, long rumored to be terminally dysfunctional, bitter and comatose or dead, are staking out the center stage of the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. On March 4, two days after Texas Independence Day, they will choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in what turns out to be a pivotal contest.

Well, hot, as we say down here, durn.
-- The New York Times Week in Review, February 24, 2008

JOURNEYS; 36 Hours | Austin, Tex.

TEXANS, especially sentimental University of Texas alumni, have long agonized over Austin's soul. Does Austin remain easygoing and eccentric in its setting of rugged hills, trees and lakes? Are its politics still liberal and is its music still rowdy? Is it still a refuge for slackers who don't want to grow up and move to Houston or Dallas?
-- The New York Times, March 28, 2003

What We Learned From Each Other

Who knows why you become close friends with another person? Is it chemistry? Are you drawn together by your differences or your commonalities, your strengths or your weaknesses?

You don’t know. What you do know, though, is something about yourself and your own expectations about life. You are the kind of person who has always known life is not fair. Maybe you were born knowing it or you learned it at an early age, but you can never remember not knowing it.

If life were fair, then your close friend would not be dying at the age of 44.
-- The Dallas Morning News, July 28, 2002

Hotter than a Crawford Ranch

All those reporters who are always clustered around President Bush should have been suspicious the minute he started stomping around his ranch in the middle of August. Instead, sweating and gullible and, frankly, kind of pathetic, they earnestly reported the president's rhapsodic remarks about going home to Texas in the summer. They bought the implication that Texans wouldn't miss a Texas August, even if it is 110 degrees in the shade (except there's not any shade).

The truth is, nobody with a brain the size of a kumquat stays in Texas in August. Most of us head to the mountains and cool, dry breezes of New Mexico, where we like to think we're not considered nearly as arrogant and obnoxious as we used to be.
-- The New York Times Op-Ed page, August 28, 2001

Hers; Going Off The Deep End

I didn't take swimming lessons because of my 40th birthday. I'd like to blame it on that, but it isn't true. I took them because of my 7-year-old daughter, Teal. I could see it in her eyes. She already hated the water as much as I did.
-- The New York Times Magazine, February 25, 1990


"His and Hers," a selection from A Texas Family Time Capsule, was performed at Arts & Letters Live's Texas Bound Series in Dallas in 2003

"Mediation," a short story from a novel in progress, was performed at Arts & Letters Live's Texas Bound Series in Dallas in 2005


Don't Think Twice:

* BookSense 76 choice
* American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults
* Finalist, Texas Institute of Letters, Young Adult Category

Conditions of Love

* Blue Ribbon title for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
* Teen Book of the Month Club
* Finalist for the Book Publishers of Texas Award for the Best Book for Children and Young People,Texas Institute of Letters

Both Sides Now

* Recommended by Hurricane Voices, website for families dealing with cancer
* Random House Readers Circle selection

A Texas Family Time Capsule

* Finalist, John Bloom Humor Award, Texas Institute of Letters