September 1st, 2009

Before I hit the long and winding road under the guidance of Doris, who has begun to gnash her steel teeth when I make too many wrong turns and she has to say “recalculating” more often than she wants to, I did a bunch of events in Los Angeles.

The book’s official launch was at my home bookstore, Small World Books on the boardwalk in Venice Beach.  The kickoff for BREATHING WATER is the ninth event they’ve hosted for me, so they have a very high boredom threshhold.  This was the first time I did the Thailand Multimedia Spectacular in public, although my wife had sat through it several hundred times, projected on the dining room wall.  I was, to put it mildly, nervous.  And my nervousness was meticulously photographed by my friend David Horwatt.


Here I am in front of the screen in the uncovincingly casual hands-in-pockets pose.  (Don’t do it — it’s always a bust.)  It’s early in the presentation, which you can tell because no one’s head has slumped forward on their chest yet.


And this is the “If you’ve got a question, you can ask it on your knees” attitude that is endearing me to readers from coast to coast.


Maybe too much coffee.

So today is Day 5, mile 1640, and I’m in Denver, which means I’m a mile high and there’s no view.  About a million miles ago, in Phoenix, I had a great time at The Poisoned Pen, sharing the stage with the amazing Barbara Peters, who owns the store, and Thomas Greanias, who writes novels about Atlantis.  We had a pretty good turnout, considering that it was 116 degrees and the city government had issued a stay-indoors-or-die edict.  It was so hot that my shadow floated an inch above the pavement.  That’s how hot it was.  It must be really hard to write jokes.  Anyway, here’s the welcome table at the Poisoned Pen:


I’ve got more books than Thomas, nyaaa nyaaa.  (Actually, however, I think he outsells me about eight to one.  And he’s a nice guy.)

Things I’ve learned on this trip.

Outside of California, people eat a lot of bacon.  I had breakfast at the Kettle, in Phoenix, and there was enough bacon on the plate to rebuild the pig.

The poet laureate of New Mexico writes their freeway signs.  The first tip-off was a sign that said:  HIGH WINDS EXIST.  The second said GUSTY WINDS ARE LIKELY. The third was on one of those trillion-dollar electrical freeway signs that made somebody very, very rich, but for the first time in my experience, the message was brilliant.  It said COPS EVERYWHERE.

I have a title for my autobiography: Foix Gras With Dullards. I realized as I approached Bloody Basin, New Mexico (it’s a real place) that I’d rather eat creamed chicken over white rice with interesting people than foie gras with dullards.

What would be the title of your autobiography?


  1. Lisa Kenney Says:

    I’ll get back to you with that title — I’m laughing too hard to come up with anything yet. You crack me up.

  2. Suzanna Says:

    Okay, so I hope that your line about being served enough bacon to rebuild the pig is from your own wonderful imagination because it belongs in one of your books. Very funny.

    Wow, I tried coming up with a title for my autobiography but I’m feeling a little vulnerable right now and I just can’t go there. Maybe the poet laureate with the knack for highway signs can help me out?

    Thanks for the Small World Books pics!

  3. Greg Smith Says:

    I really don’t have time for blogging lately because I just started a fascinating book by Tim Hallinan. Thanks so much for the prize. Pan is verrry interesting.

    And in the blog I liked the pig line too. You do just fine with a pithy line.

    For an autobiography I’d go with “But Enough about Me” and make sure it was published posthumously.

    Best of luck on the road trip.

  4. Walt Pascoe Says:

    Really enjoying the endless tour saga, Tim.Look forward to Foix Gras With Dullards!
    I can’t write to save my life. But were someone to put a gun to my head, I suppose the title of my autobiography would have to be: “I May Be Tilting At Windmills, But At Least I’ve Learned Not To Try And Piss Up A Tree”.

  5. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Lisa — If you don’t title your biography, I’ll post at length about our four-hour dinner in Denver, and I won’t mention that Scott was with us.

    Suzanna — Yes the bacon line is mine. Geez. And what have you got to feel vulnerable about, what with being beautiful, accomplished and loved by all sorts of folk, including my wife and me?

    Greg — That Hallinan guy is best read really fast. If you slow down you can see the bolts and rivets. And that’s a great title. By the way, I thought of the pig line while I was driving to Denver and I laughed out loud all alone in the middle of the desert.

    Walt — I’m so glad you came by again. And although Walt claims he can’t write, on his site he has the following, which I wish I had written and will eventually claim that I did: “Creative invention in my work does not feel like willful innovation. It feels more like a form of remembering.” SWOOSH! Didn’t even touch the rim. Here’s the URL for some terrific work:

  6. Suzanna Says:

    Thanks for the nice words of encouragement and all the love, my friend.

    My captcha may make a good title for a scrappy warrior’s autobiography: Operation Mongrels

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Operation Mongrels — sounds like Tarantino’s next.

  8. Stefan Says:

    You haven’t fully savored bacon until you’ve had a Vosges Mo’s Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar with smoked salt. Seriously.

    By the way, it’s spelled “foie gras.” It’s a French thing.


  9. Suzanna Says:


    Foix or foie are both correct. It’s an internet thing. I don’t speak French.

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