dunkle muse, you say?

I came home Friday afternoon to find a box of German BLOOD ANGELs sitting on our porch. It’s a big fat softcover novel and I can’t believe it’s something I wrote.

Last night E. and I drove out to Malibu — not just Malibu, but Way The Hell Out There in Malibu — for a dinner party at Walter and Linda’s. Linda is a smart stylish capable professional and a spirited party girl (party woman), the kind who calls me Sunday morning to tell me that she can’t remember if she called me Saturday night because there were too many martinis involved. She’s planning to throw a big Moroccan dinner party for about 60 people in early September and so was rehearsing the theme last night, with a charming private chef who brought out one of the most awesome things I’ve ever tasted at anyone’s house ever — something involving chicken and spices in a light flaky pastry — and a belly dancer. Before the dancer arrived, Bill — an art dealer in Santa Monica — made sure everyone had a handful of one dollar bills beside their plate, and there was some discussion as to how you were supposed to tip the dancer. The dancer herself, in a gold metallic outfit not greatly unlike what Leia wore in RETURN OF THE JEDI, cleared this up for us: “Like this,” she said, holding up her hands and flicking imaginary dollar bills off her palm, “like rain.” We showered her with singles — Bill running behind her doing these amazing gazelle-like leaps as he did so — as she danced and traditional Egyptian music played and fog billowed past the open porch doors and the sea rolled away the way the sea does. (When Linda was talking to me that morning, she interrupted herself to say, “Wow, I just saw a whale.”).

Linda and I joined the dancer for a little lesson. She showed us a few things with the hips and then incorporated arm movements. “Headache,” she said, bringing one hand to her face as she swayed her head to the music. “Pretend you have a headache.”

Walter is a lovely man — a suave and soft-spoken Belgian who reads German. Linda handed him the copy of BLOOD ANGEL I’d given her and urged him to translate some of it aloud for her us at table. “Dunkle Muse.” Walter read off the subtitle of Part One. “‘Dark Muse.'”

“This is surreal,” I said. “To have myself read back to myself in English translated to German translated back to English.”

Walter turned the page. “‘The girl came from nothing,'” he said. [What I wrote was, ‘The girl came out of nowhere’ but I figured that was close enough.] “She carries a — rucksack? What do you call it?” He gestured slinging it over his shoulder.

“Backpack,” someone said.

“And then she does this –” Walter lifted his thumb like he was hitchhiking.

Then he looked a bit flustered and shut the book. We all applauded.


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