Earlier this week, I got my happy little hands on a copy of Miranda July's new short story collection "No One Belongs Here More Than You" (Scribner, $23, 224 pages). I even put it in my weekly To-Do List.
Thursday, I had an assignment in San Francisco that required a lot of sitting around and waiting so, naturally, I brought my new book along for company.
If you're not familiar with July, she's the writer/director/actress behind 2005's wonderfully strange and sweet indie film "Me and You and Everyone We Know." July also plays music and writes for different publications.
"No One," which features stories previously published by the New Yorker, the Paris Review and Tin House, is her book debut, and the writing here is really fresh, funny and straightforward. And sometimes, just a little bit unsettling.
But that's not the point here. The point is, there I am, sitting in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton reading "Majesty" - a story about a 46-year-old woman's obsession with Prince William. Yes, that Prince William - and suddenly, mid-passage, the narrator namechecks The Sacramento Bee. Yes, that Sacramento Bee.
This is how it went down:
I got out of bed and, as if I needed more evidence, I opened The Sacramento Bee, and there, in the World News section, was an article about Prince Charles' visit to a housing estate in Glasglow, a trip he he took with his son, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis.
I know - random. And yes, I checked The Bee archives for the story in question and no, I couldn't find it.
So, why then, The Sacramento Bee? Who knows? July spent much of her career in Portland and now lives in L.A. - but she did grow up only a stone's throw away from here, in Berkeley. Anyway, if anyone can more concretely connect the Miranda July/Sacramento degrees of separation, please let me know.
In the meantime, all I can say is this: The reference only fuels the fantasy I have of running into July at, say, the Temple Coffee House, and, of course, immediately becoming BFF.
I also know this: You should really read the book. Don't believe me? Everyone from David Byrne and Dave Eggers to Bust magazine has praised July's literary flair. She's that good. Check her out.