Saturday, January 26th:
Writers Lucille Lang Day & Herbert Gold

7 p.m. – Two accomplished writers take entirely different ends of the spectrum as their starting point in memoirs of humor, insight and no small measure of narrative grace.

Married at FourteenLucille Lang Day’s Married at Fourteen tells the tale of her young life and its trajectory, while Herbert Gold’s Not Dead Yet takes up the other end of the spectrum. Both sparkle with wit and feisty independent spirit. It’ll be a Saturday evening to remember in Glen Park’s literary center as these two accomplished writers and kindred spirits hold forth at Bird & Beckett, reading from their latest books. Make time to stay for the book signing and casual conversation to follow.

Lucy Lang Day writes,

“I started seriously looking for a husband when I was twelve. I’d had enough of being a child, enough of being told what to do. I was unhappy at school; I resented homework; I didn’t get along with my mother. Having seen movies like South Pacific, Sayonara, and A Summer Place, I believed in true love. More than anything, I wanted Rossano Brazzi, Marlon Brando, or Troy Donahue to come rescue me from my childhood. I wanted to be an adult, to be free, and to be loved.”

Cyra McFadden, author of The Serial: A Year in the Life of Marin County, writes that Lucy’s tale takes her “from teenage wild child and biker chick to prize-winning poet and holder of four advanced degrees.” McFadden continues, “The mature Lucy writes about this unlikely trajectory with clarity, wit, and affection for her younger self, a fourteen-year-old child bride and a disaster waiting to happen. You won’t find a more likable voice on the page, or a tale with a more satisfying ending. Parents of teenage forces of nature, take heart.”

Not Dead Yet, Herb GoldThen there’s Herb Gold! Seventy-plus years into a writing career that began in the early 1940s at age 17 — when the publication of his poems by a few New York literary magazines prompted him to move from Cleveland to New York City — Gold is likely the senior representative of the “Beat Generation” and its Bohemian forebears, and remains a prolific, productive, and highly entertaining writer. He studied philosophy at Columbia University, where he was a denizen of the coffeehouses and jazz clubs and counted Allen Ginsberg and other early Beat figures among his friends and cohorts. His first novel, Birth of a Hero, was written in Paris on a Fulbright soon after and published by Viking Press in 1951. From that sparkling beginning, he fully embarked on his career as a “Writer,” hitting a zenith with Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir in 1967 and continuing with nary a missed beat to the present day. Along the way, he notes, he’s been considered “a Cleveland writer, a Jewish writer, a New York writer, an expatriate writer, a San Francisco writer, a beat/hip writer, a young writer, a middle-aged writer, a sometimes-married writer, a contributor-to-quarterlies writer . . . .” With Not Dead Yet: A Feisty Bohemian Explores the Art of Growing Old (first published in 2008 as Still Alive!: A Temporary Condition), Gold writes on, employing all his accumulated wit, experience and writerly chops to paint a picture of the landscape from his vantage point eight decades on.

Lucille Lang Day has published creative nonfiction in The Hudson Review, the Istanbul Literary Review, Passages North,the River Oak Review, the Willow Review, and many other journals. She is the recipient of the Willow Review Award in Creative Nonfiction and a Notable Essay citation in Best American Essays. She is also the author of a children’s book, Chain Letter, and eight poetry collections and chapbooks, including The Curvature of Blue, Infinities, and The Book of Answers. Her first poetry collection, Self-Portrait with Hand Microscope, received the Joseph Henry Jackson Award. She received an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and also an M.A. in zoology and a Ph.D. in science and mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley. The founder and director of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books, she also served for seventeen years as the director of the Hall of Health, an interactive children’s museum in Berkeley.

Herbert Gold’s novels include The Birth of a Hero, The Prospect Before Us, The Man Who Was Not With It, The Optimist, Therefore Be Bold, Salt, Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir, The Great American Jackpot, Swiftie the Magician, Waiting for Cordelia, Slave Trade, He/She, Family: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir, True Love, Mister White Eyes, A Girl of Forty, Dreaming and She Took Me in Her Arms as if She Loved Me. He’s also published four books of short stories, 15×3, Love and Like, The Magic Will: Stores and Essays of a Decade and Lovers & Cohorts: 27 Stories, plus seven collections of essays including The Age of Happy Problems, Biafra Goodbye, My Last Two Thousand Years, A Walk on the Wild Side: California on the Brink, Travels in San Francisco, Best Nightmare on Earth: A Life in Haiti and Bohemia, and even a children’s book, The Young Prince and the Magic Cone. Along the way, there have been countless magazine articles and newspaper pieces, probably dozens of which you’ve read in the San Francisco Chronicle over the years… A small portion of his archive resides at Columbia University. The rest? We’ll find out for you…