Zeigler Blog

SoCal So DryFebruary 12, 2014

Although I’m anxious—now that the southern Arizona book tour has concluded—to fly to Atlanta to meet my new grandson, Caleb, I’m cooling my heels here in San Diego. I’m being treated like royalty by my brother, David, his wife, Lori and their son, Jake. Sunday night involved a wonderful dinner with teacher Marty Brisbois and her husband, Brian, also an educator. Marty agreed to work with Dimmie and me next summer to export her lesson plan for teaching Max as a companion piece for Charley to teacher’s blogs. She also purchased 52 copies of Max for her students.

My flight to Atlanta was cancelled today. Dimmie texted me saying they were riding out the worst storm of the century, which, while inconvenient, at least means moisture.

Here in San Diego, David tells me they are experiencing a drought that stretches back to post-2008 (the last wet year on record). David reports his well is at about 30% capacity and as the water table drops the level is often below the pump. Last night, I got to observe the family in a meeting over the issue of water conservation (the future for us all?). It was agreed that showers should be two minutes, the dish and clothes washers should be run as full as possible and that flushing should occur only when urgent. It was even suggested the water normally lost while waiting for the shower water to warm could be captured in a bucket and used for dogs or plants.

I’m grateful to my family for allowing me to listen in on such a critical conversation in challenging times.


Art Note: The rest of the Borrego Springs dragon.

Tucson in my rear-viewFebruary 10, 2014

My brief book tour of Tucson was, uh…interesting. The venue at AlumaFiesta was challenging (I’m being kind) and many of the sixty-plus good folks who came to hear Tom and me, frankly, could not because of the poor PA and the poorer acoustics. However, Airstream folks are nothing if not generous and supportive—so sales on Saturday (of Max and Straw) for AlumaFiesta were brisk.

Sherry of Mostly Books on East Speedway (a lovely bookstore—the kind you find yourself relaxing in when you first enter) was kind to invite me to read and sign on Friday 2/7 but I fear neither of us realized I was scheduled up against the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It was a good dry run with a small but very enthusiastic audience.  One member of the audience was childhood friend, Marty Twitchell. I had not seen Marty in twenty years. Her presence was particularly poignant because it was her family who first got me out west (at the age of 16), on the Colorado River in a kayak, and involved in a life-long love affair with the Colorado. Her friend, Jim Turner came as well. Jim is an author, editor and historian. Jim shared some Arizona history that was a great addition to the program. He also honored me at the end of my reading by comparing Straw to The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols (www.amazon.com).

Book Note: Still buried in (and fascinated by) Cadillac Desert. This book could have been written in 2014. As far at the over-subscribed and endangered Colorado River is concerned,  I fear the piper’s bill is being marked “past due.”

Borrego Dragon

Art Note: Borrego Springs is surrounded by fascinating metal sculpture. The dragon is my favorite.

Thirty-something in TucsonFebruary 5, 2014

Can you believe it? Low thirties last night. I’m surprised those little lemons and limes don’t just shrivel up and fall right off those trees. Cloudy too. Not the weather snowbirds fly so far for, but beautiful all the same.

I spoke to 60-plus folks last night at AlumaFiesta here in Tucson re: Straw and Max and my short readings and suggestions about memoir writing were well received.

Friday night (2/8) I will be speaking at Mostly Books on East Speedway (www.mostlybooksaz.com).  Lovely Bertha Segal had me to lunch today at her retirement home just across the street from Mostly Books. Bertha is promoting my talk among her friends and community members.

The highlight of the week will no doubt be my visit to brother David’s family and the Sunday dinner (hosted by my sister-in-law Lori) for Marty Brisbois. Marty is the gifted and talented (the teacher, not the kids—although I’m sure they are too) teacher who is teaching Max to 95 students this spring.

Book Note: I was reminded in Cadillac Desert what a Greek Tragedy the life of Mulholland was. The water wars of 1927 were narrowly averted but only because of the ironic catastrophic failure of St. Francis Dam, a Mulholland project—600 people perished. Mulholland’s carer was over.

Desert DazeJanuary 31, 2014

Ok, “desert daze” is a poor pun but one does sink into a bit of a torpor in the desert, if for no other reason than that 82 degrees and sunny in January is kind of stunning for a mountain boy like me. I want to give the Springs at Borrego RV Resort (www.springsatborrego.com) a digital shout-out since they carry my travel memoir, Travels With Max.  Although this stay Winnie (my Airstream Bambi) and I are parked at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Palm Canyon Campground.  I saw a roadrunner there yesterday. I love their intensity, intelligence, pretty little tail feathers and the fact that they can kill a rattler with one peck.

I was happy to hear from Anne Paterson, Director of Corporate relations at American Rivers (www.amaricanrivers.org) this morning. She was pleased to have American Rivers benefit from select in-store readings/signings of my new environmental thriller, The Straw That Broke. That is what we have proposed to Stio (www.stio.com) in Jackson for an early summer in-store event. Stio offers beautiful functional outdoor apparel (a few items of which I own) so when they bring out the spring/river line Stio feels like a good fit for Straw.

Book Note: In yesterday’s post I mentioned I was reading the revised version of Cadillac Desert (www.amazon.com) by Marc Reisner. It was written in 1986 and I remember reading it shortly after publication and being amazed, moved and provoked.  What I didn’t realize was that the book was revised twenty years ago and that sadly Reisner died of cancer at the age of 51 in 2000. There is a lovely tribute to him in an article entitled, Farewell, Marc Reisner in The High Country News (hcn.org). Cadillac Desert feels (is!) even more scary/accurate today. Reisner was obviously ahead of his time.

“Straw” goes on the roadJanuary 31, 2014

Wonderful and vernerable , The King’s English in Salt Lake City, was the first bookstore to purchase multiple copies of The Straw That Broke. I dropped the books with my sister, Jeanne, on 1/27 so that I could head on down south where, after a brief stop in Borrego Springs, CA to pick up my Airstream Bambi named Winnie, I’m scheduled for a book tour to include Phoenix and Tucson. In Tucson, Winnie and I will be attending the Airstream gathering known as AlumaFiesta.  I’ve been invited to speak and conduct a short writing workshop with fellow author, Tom Schabarum (Airstreaming).  On Thursday I will lead a lunch tour of the world famous Arizona Inn where my book, Travels with Max, is on sale in the gift store. Saturday, 1/8, both my books will be offered for sale at the gathering.  Since both feature Airstreams, including in the case of Straw a 1957 Flying Cloud, I anticipate brisk interest. It will also be an honor to do a reading and signing at a local independent store, Mostly Books at 7 p.m. on Friday, 1/7. It goes without writing (but I will write it all the same) if any of you are in the Tucson area next week, please give me a call-360.356.5050.

Book note: Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner—the bible of western water issues has been revised and is well worth another read. I just started the new version on Kindle two days ago. I recommend it.