Author Jane Smiley has a fondness for dogs. She has a couple at her home in Carmel Valley, Calif., where she lives with her husband. One of those dogs, Fallon, has a special talent: He likes to sing. And Smiley likes to accompany him on a banjo she bought back in 1972 when she was living in Iowa.
Smiley spent 24 years in Iowa. She's been gone for a long time now, but something about the place still seems to pull on her imagination.