Friday, September 28, 2007

That's Mr. Author to You!

There’s nothing like an 11 year old to bring you back down to Earth, especially when she’s your daughter.

One day last week I picked her up after school. I happened to have with me in the car a copy of The Independent, which had an insert for the 9th Annual Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival, which takes place this upcoming weekend in and around the grounds of the Santa Barbara Public Library.

I opened up the insert and pointed out my picture. I’m one of the participants on a panel that will be discussing the future on newspapers at 11 am Saturday in the Mural Room of the Courthouse.

My daughter looked at the picture of me, then looked at the title of the festival, then looked at me and asked about, what to her must have been the great mystery of the 21st century. “Why is your picture in an ad for a book and author’s festival?”

The implication was clear. As far as she was concerned I was not an author, at least not of any books she had ever heard of, and my picture in the ad was the greatest literary hoax since Clifford Irving sold his phony biography of Howard Hughes to McGraw-Hill.

Now, for the record, I would hasten to point out that I am a published author. (California Contract Law, Cases & Materials published by Carolina Academic Press.)

I know a law school casebook is never going to climb to the top of The New York Times bestseller list but it is required reading for a select number of first year law students year in and year out.

In a pure happenstance, a few days after my daughter and I had our little conversation my first royalty check arrived in the mail. Of course, my daughter is nowhere around when it arrives and while I’d love nothing more than to wave it in front of the little rascal’s face it occurs to me I better get the check deposited into the bank before my publisher goes belly up and the thing bounces higher than a tennis ball on the moon.

I figure that if I have to be brought back down to Earth my money should stay here with me.

* * *

Joining me on the “What’s Next for Newspapers?” panel Saturday morning are; Jeramy Gordon, the co-publisher and editor of the Santa Barbara Daily Sound, Jerry Roberts, former executive editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press, Matt Kettmann of The Independent, Peter Sklar of Edhat and Santa Barbara’s most famous blogger, Doc Searls, who is the moderator of the panel.

Come by and say hi.

For more info on the festival go to their website,

* * *

Not that you’ll ever hear me complaining about it but another coffee spot is opening up downtown. Peet’s Coffee is going into the space formerly occupied by La Salsa in the 1100 block of State Street.

* * *

Correction. In my post from last Tuesday morning, I quoted a portion of Jerry Robert's resignation letter addressed to Wendy McCaw in which he said: "It appears you intend for the news pages to become a propaganda arm for the crusades and frivolities of the editorial page."

Someone who is more familiar with the letter than I am pointed out to me that I copied it down wrong as it was projected on the screen in the courtroom and that Roberts had not used the word "frivolities" in the letter but instead used the word "favorites."

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