May 27, 2019

BookTV telecast w/ Cahill, Allende et al

In 2004, the launch event for my book “A Sense of Place” was a conversation in San Francisco with Isabel Allende, Tim Cahill, Jeff Greenwald and Jan Morris. It’s 90 minute long but you can watch it in segments. Click here to watch the video.

Aug. 16-21: Writing seminar with Tim Cahill on Idaho’s Salmon River

Michael Shapiro is co-teaching an on-river adventure writing workshop on one of America’s premier whitewater rivers: The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. For details, see Idaho River Journey’s site.

Shapiro appears at 20th annual Book Passage travel conference

I’ve just heard there’s still time to sign up for the 20th annual Book Passage Travel & Food Writing & Photography Conference. An amazing line-up of teachers includes LA Times travel editor Catherine Hamm, actor-turned-travel writer Andrew McCarthy, SF Chronicle travel editor Spud Hilton, NYT contributor David Farley and many others. I was a student […]

David Sedaris’ subversive charm

David Sedaris is not a rock star. He’s an author, radio contributor, humorist, playwright, and essayist. Yet when he walks onstage Saturday night , October 30, at the Wells Fargo Center, he’ll be greeted with as much effusive enthusiasm as any heartthrob musician. This slight, 53-year-old man is not only talented, insightful and funny, with […]

Somewhere Beyond Time: Jan Morris’s Wales

“Come, I’d like to show you something,” says Jan Morris, the eminent Welsh author. We’re at the rustic Pen-y-Gwryd, a 200-year-old lodge clinging to the foothills of Mount Snowdon, Wales’ highest peak, where climbers Edmund Hillary, John Hunt, and others trained for 1953 Everest expedition. After a hearty lunch of steak pie and Guinness stout […]

Lucinda Williams’ latest a blessing for all, Press Democrat

Lucinda Williams has struck a nerve. The title track of her new album “Blessed,” has sparked a movement of people wanting to share why they feel blessed.

It all started with the cover art for the new disc. Williams’ husband and band manager, Tom Overby, thought it would be intriguing to ask people to write the word “Blessed” on a poster-size sheet of paper and stand for a photo with it.

Then something unexpected happened: the people asked to pose for the photos wanted to talk about why they feel blessed. So Williams hired a filmmaker to document their stories.

Some of those heartfelt, almost confessional, video accounts appear on Williams’ web site,

“It’s so moving — I was just in tears watching some of that stuff,” Williams said in an interview with the Press Democrat this month.

“Happiness is relative; joy is relative,” she said. “You might look at someone and say, ‘how could they feel blessed, they don’t have much money.’

“So the song starts, ‘we were blessed by the girl selling roses.’ It just kind of blossomed from there.”