6:30 A.M. Packing for a trip to Toronto to meet George Pelecanos for the Hammett Awards. Embarking not just on a short trip, but on a Culture Diary, haunted already by George’s quote yesterday in The Wall Street Journal when they asked people what they’re reading this summer: “I’m not going to play that game. Everyone says something that sounds smart and ends up taking Michael Connelly to the beach.”
6:45 A.M. In and out of the bedroom while packing, so I hear bits of an NPR story about New Orleans music—second line, bump.
7:10 A.M. Bag ready, kids still asleep, I turn to my two ongoing Wordscraper games on Facebook. There are ample reasons to like and loathe Facebook, and I can’t justify its existence or my participation in it, but what I can do is blame Nora Ephron. Her essay about her online Scrabble addiction led me into a world I (happily) never knew existed: the world of Scrabulous. Soon, I was the closest I’ve ever come to an illicit online activity, playing rapid-fire games with total strangers who slaughtered me mercilessly. And then a friend told me we could play via Facebook, which I’d assumed was off-limits to any self-respecting adult over twenty-five. (Many would argue this is still the case.) It was the beginning of the end.
7:21 A.M. Slate. Dana Stevens, like every other critic I’ve read so far, confirms my sense that Sex and the City 2 is an abomination upon womankind. William Saletan is in a dust-up with The National Review.
8:07 A.M. WNYC in the car to Newark Airport. Bob Henley, did you have to use the word “confab”? I’ll answer that: no, you did not. Long, depressing, infuriating story about the oil spill. Scott Simon riffs on airport security.
8:40 A.M. Turns out leaving Newark on Saturday during Memorial Day weekend is a breeze. I’m in and out of security faster than you can say “Scott Simon.” Which only leaves me more time to suffer the plague of modern travel: the CNN airport onslaught.
9:00 A.M. Joy! My iPod John Prine Pandora station is working. So long, CNN.
9:05 A.M. Rats. Pandora no longer working. Time to plug into Syd Straw’s “Pink Velour.”
9:30 A.M. iPod battery dead. CNN rage returns. Half-hour report that began with the dubious claim that “Some people don’t know how expensive college can be” has been deemed “incredible” by the anchor. That’s one word for it.
9:35 A.M. Twitter. A blogger loves James Hynes’s Next. And this is one reason why I love Twitter.
10:15 A.M. Plane prepares for takeoff and I’ve left my New Yorker in the overhead bin and I can’t turn on my e-reader or iPod. Media withdrawal begins.
10:30 A.M. Manuscript on e-reader for the short duration of the flight.
2:15 P.M. Waiting to meet Pelecanos in hotel lobby. French Open! I haven’t seen any of it yet. Nadal v. Hewitt for five minutes, then George and I head for Toronto’s Greektown, and a great Greek feast.
4:30 P.M. Manuscripts; nap.
6:30 P.M. Hammett Awards, where I say hello to Walter Mosley and meet Jedediah Barry, whose novel The Manual of Detection is one of the prize finalists.
10:00 P.M. After the ceremony, drinks with George, Canadian writers Linwood Barclay and Giles Blunt, and wonderful Deon Meyer, the South African writer who is here as an international guest of honor. They all seem to know an awful lot about films, soundtracks, motorcycles, and cars. I guess now’s not the time to bring up The Real Housewives.