As a writer, I'm used to spending a lot of time alone. But lately, I've been getting a great big fat dose of Time Alone. The Tiny Goddess has gone off with our daughter The Flower for one of their famous mother-daughter vacations. I'm very happy for them, but I'm home alone for TEN DAYS!!

I can do it. I've done it before. The TG used to go on long business trips, and I kept watch on the castle. Of course, the kids were young then, and they were at home so there was always a lot of activity in the house. Now, I'm the only activity. But I've decided to make this Time Alone extra-productive. There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to doing during these ten days, and here are some of them:

-- I'm going to get the TG's car fixed. The bumper of her car encountered a curb, and the curb won. It's a three-day fix, so the perfect time to do it is when she's out of town. Can't live in LA without a car.

-- I'm going to work an extra session after dinner, which I don't do when the TG is around. On one hand, I like to leave a good extra end from my most recent work session to tie onto. As Ernest Hemingway said in a famous 1935 article advising writers: "The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it."

-- I'm going to see an old friend Kevin Sessums do a book reading and signing at Book Soup in Hollywood, where I did my reading and signing for WHAT IT WAS LIKE. His new book "I Left It On the Mountain" is excellent reading!

-- I'm going to have a meal at the Oinkster. A pulled pork sandwich, with their amazing Belgian fries. That will make me feel better, if only temporarily. I might need two Oinkster meals. Everybody tells me that it's overrated, and people just like it for its name. Could be....

-- I'm going to try to sleep later in the morning – at least until 6:00 AM.

-- I'll help my friend Susan pack up her house. She's leaving LA. (sob)

-- I'll play a little more of my Pandora "Rolling Stones" channel and a little less of the "Giacomo Puccini" channel. And I'll play it louder.

-- I'm going to the local mall and buy some new jeans. I have to do this every five years or so.

-- I'm going to transplant some cactus, putting some overgrown plants into the ground and putting some grafts into containers.

-- I'm going to go to Amoeba Records in Hollywood and finally spend my gift certificate from Christmas.

-- I'm going to do some painting touch-ups on our outside wicker furniture. I had to special-order the matching paint.

-- I'm going to go the opera alone. A very good supposedly "BARBER OF SEVILLE." I can't get any of my friends to see opera, so I'll just slink in and out. And I'll donate the TG's ticket back to the LA Opera, to resell or give to a deserving music student.

-- Maybe I'll get a little pity visit from Calder and his parents.

Mostly, I'm going to work hard; this new novel is burning a hole in my brain, and I have to get it out. And then I have to make it better.

Of course, in inimitable TG style, she's left me little "love" post-its all around the house -- in my desk calendar, in the coffee filters, in the prosciutto (!) -- for me to find during the week, to get me through.

While I'm not a big fan of Sting, he hit the nail right on the musical head with "THE BED'S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU."


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Christian Correa