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World, meet Leesha. Leesha, world...

I had such a lovely time today speaking at the Japanese American National Museum. It was an amazing honor to be there. (Thanks Koji). Honestly, I was so impressed with the exhibits that their haunting images occasionally sidetracked my presentation—the hazards of spectacular venues, I suppose.

One query that came from the audience was, "Why don't we know more about you?" As much as I wanted to joke about Jamie being a pen name (my real name being Izzy Itzkowic) or that I'm running from my Amish past, it was a fair question. So I dished a little on the who's, why's, a where's. Not the least of which is my wife—of the "For Leesha, my happy ending" fame, found on the dedication page of HOTEL.

We were married on 08/08/08, at 8:08. (Chinese lucky numbers have been lucky for us).Folks wanted to know if she's Asian. Nope. Not unless China annexes Ireland. Leesha is an Irish lass, with lovely strawberry-red hair, not unlike me mum. And she has a bit of a red-headed temper, which explains the footprint on our vaulted ceiling. She kicked her shoe off once and it left a perfect impression, as though an elf had walked upside down. (Yes, we still laugh about it).

I'll explain our Brady Bunch family later (I might need a flow chart).

Tomorrow I'm going to Ellison Wonderland. More on that in a few days.



Do you listen to music while you write? If so, which genre/band/artist?



Hi Lee,

I don't listen to music when I write. I've tried and it's too distracting—even non-lyrical music like smooth jazz, trance, classical, etc.

But, I DO listen to music while I edit and my tastes vary.

I'm a big fan of the blues, so I listen to plenty of Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, and Eric Bibb. But I also listen to Jackson Brown, Amy Winehouse, and Elvis Costello...as well as a strange mix of Tupac, Public Enemy, 80s music, country (old and new), Hawaiian, sound-tracks, and more modern stuff like the Killers, Bullet For My Valentine, and the Decemberists.

Oh, and old school Jazz...waaaay old school, like Count Basie and Billie Holiday.

(And I forgot Erykah Badu, Bon Iver, Laura Izabor...I could go on and on).

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Reader Comments (2)

I usually write to music that I know well - so it becomes a tool that I use to block out all background noise. I know that sounds silly but it works for me. I prefer more mellow music - Snow Patrol, Adele, U2.
January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracey
Your wife is beautiful Jamie. Congrats on whats obviously a wonderful marriage. I have tried writing to music as well, and more often that not, I get sidetracked by the music. I can have soft instrumental music going however, which sometimes helps my mood in a particular section. I will now have to go research most of the musicians/groups you mention. While I know some, there are alot more I don't.
January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Stallsworth

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