Getting Ready to Start the New Book


I’ve put away the books about murder. Now my shelves are filling up with books about ghosts. The Rhine Research Center has offered their support, so I can come out and say that I’m writing about the former Duke Parapsychology Laboratory. Scientists have always disdained parapsychology, but there was a brief window, from the 30’s to the 60’s, when the scientific community thought, well, okay, ectoplasm, seances and table rappings aside, maybe something is going on. Duke opened a lab to study the various phenomena, and for a few decades, a group of serious scientists and graduate students tried to find if there was anything there. I’m writing a book about what they did and did not find.

It was an amazing time. (I think I will put this in my formal bio. I like this description.)

Holiday Cleaning

Why does it feel so good to clean my apartment within an inch of its life twice a year (spring cleaning and holiday cleaning)? This weekend is holiday cleaning weekend and I’m filled with that life-is-good feeling.

Somehow I’ve grown up to be ambivalent about the holidays, but there are certain things I still love about Christmas:

– holiday cleaning.
– the music, especially singing in the holiday concert at Grace Church.
– Christmas decorations, except this year I don’t think I’ll decorate. I might just admire everyone else’s.
– cold weather. If you had told me as a kid that I would grow up to love cold weather, (and become ambivalent about Christmas) I would have done more research into the exact location of Neverland.
– holiday movies.
– advent calendars.
– the smell of the Home Sweet Home candle made by Yankee.
– the Yule log. Excpet now I forget — is that on WPIX or WOR?
– pumpkin pie is everywhere and easy to find.
– I remember that stuffing exists.
– singing at the Neander family house.
– that Truman Capote Christmas story.

Ha. I guess there’s a lot I still like. What don’t I like? Much as I love to give and get presents, it’s just too much pressure. I would enjoy it a lot more if we all just got each other a token gift, like a brownie or a flower, or nothing at all.

Also, since I no longer believe in God, a lot of the magic is, of course, gone. When I was a kid, listening to Amahl and the Night Visitors, the whole idea of the star, the shephards, the three wise man, and the birth of this miraculous child, I remember being genuinely filled with awe. How could you not, if you really believed all this was true, and didn’t think about the ugly side of it, which you didn’t tend to do as child around Christmas.

Which reminds me, my next book is about the former Duke Parapsychology Lab and I was talking to a scientist who worked there in the 50’s I believe it was. I enjoyed our conversation (I’m so happy to be writing this book) and when I asked him if he believed in life after death, his answer was yes, and he was so calm and assured, and absolutely convinced and matter of fact. It was comforting.

Reading at KGB Next Week

My reading on November 15th has a theme!

Law Enforcement and International Intrigue Night

KGB Bar: 85 East 4th Street
November 15, 2005
7-9 PM, FREE!

The readers are going to be me, Nate Blakeslee, who wrote TULIA : Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, and Edith Mirante, author of DOWN THE RAT HOLE; Adventures Underground on Burma’s Frontier.

The Cats Spy a Target

Lovely. What is it? Please don’t let it be one of those flying waterbug (giant cockroach) things. They make me cry.


I’m going to go to the Marathon today. That makes me cry too, but it’s a good cry.