Okay, so the title is a little deceiving. I didn't exactly spend the DAY on the east side, but I was poking around for most of the morning. Now I know there are many west siders who never cross the river out of fear or indignancy or some weird combination of the two, but I spent five years of my professional life as a reporter covering The Heights. So I look forward to the chance to haunt my old stomping grounds.
The day started early with breakfast at 7:30 with Merle Gorden, the mayor of Beachwood, at the Beachwood Hilton. Very nice, entertaining chat with the long-time mayor. I covered Beachwood for a spell (less than a year actually) when it was under the stewardship one Harvey Friedman.
Harvey Friedman was famous for running the city from his thrown at Charley's Crab. My first encounter with him was 15 years ago in that fine establishment. As I walked in with my editor at the time, she warned me that he spit food when he talked. WOW! She wasn't kidding. You needed a raincoat to sit across the table from his Honor. He even spit soup!
Harvey used to grouse that Beachwood was nothing more than a training ground for cub reporters. He taught them the ropes (yeah, whatever) and they moved on to greener pastures.
With a bit of time to kill before MicroCenter opened, I headed to one of my favorite stops, Joseph-Beth Booksellers. I have a Borders and (very soon) Barnes & Noble five minutes from my house, but there's something about the more independent nature of J-B that I find far more appealing.
I nosed around the magazines, flipping through to see if I wanted to spend the big bucks on Harvard Business Review (no), and hunted for a not-to-be-found Publisher's Weekly. The books on the bargain table were calling my name, but I can't in good conscience bring any more books into my house until I purge some I have.
Walked upstairs to see what's new in business books and found a biography of the late Bart Wolstein, with a moving dedication to Bart by his wife, Iris. Then I found, "Why Business People Speak Like Idiots." Very entertaining in the few pages I skimmed and explores the theme of an earlier post right here on Creative Ink.
I was there long enough to hear the arrival and unmistakable voice of the effervescent Richard Gildenmeister, master bookseller at J-B. Haven't seen him in a while, but he keeps me posted on special events, author signings, etc. at J-B. He and I chatted about what's new and I learned that Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House books, drew nearly 500 people last night. That's awesome. Her books are highly popular among the 7-10 set.
Couldn't help but notice the many books about spirituality found throughout the store. Maybe my senses are just heightened because that's what I review, but they seemed to be everywhere. I checked out the New Spirituality shelf to see what among my "to read" stack seemed to be grabbing the interest of booksellers and made a mental note to move one or two up to the top of the pile.
Usually a trip to the east side includes a visit to Trader Joe's. Though I'm in need of restocking my wine rack and have been craving TJ's orange chicken, I decide to forego that trip in anticipation of the new Trader Joe's opening VERY SOON at Crocker Park.
Instead, I'm in need of some software for my Mac, so I head to MicroCenter and drop a load of cash on QuickBooks, per my accountant's instructions. One of my business goals this year is to be better organized with my administration crap. Once the flurries started to fly, I decided it was best to head west, even though I would have loved lunch at Tommy's on Coventry. Perhaps next time.
Many e-mails, phone calls and stack of columns to judge for SPJ's Sigma Delti Chi Awards, awaited me back in my office, as did this blog.
First class at PWLGC
My Cleveland passport was stamped twice this week since I ventured east last night to the Poet's & Writer's League of Greater Cleveland for my first class. Went to hear Carlo Wolff talk about book reviewing. Was a delightful conversation and I walked out of there with four very good ideas. His best gem of the evening, advice I was given early on, is that part of getting into an organization as a reviewer, freelancer, etc., is filling a need. So thanks, Carlo.