at Hooray for Books, with Debbie Levy, family, friends

Sunday, July 28, 2013


We may all have niches of incapability, but I suspect that I have more than most. Making perfect corners on a bed is on that list. So is watching blood-soaked horror films. So is driving alone in high traffic for several hours.

Yesterday, however, I overcame Incapability Number Three and drove alone to Alexandria, VA, to spend time at Hooray for Books. Jessica Shoffel of Penguin had already told me what a great place this was. Ellen, the proprietor, had mentioned the chance to share the afternoon with Debbie Levy. And I have family in those parts—my sister and her three children.

So I was there, I drove, I conquered. And I will be forever glad that I did. Hooray for Books is a beautiful enterprise, right there on King Street, in a town that is ripe with interesting shops and cupcake nooks. Debbie Levy—whose new book, Imperfect Spiral, I will be writing of here soon—is a one-hundred-percent class act. So talented, so well-prepared, so interesting, so thoughtful, so professional that I had to stop my feather-earringed self from standing up and shouting "yes!" as she spoke. What a conversation we had about truth, fiction, and the line in between. What unexpected side trips we took as we explored form and economy. And when we proposed to our gathering that they join us in a mini writing workshop, the room was game. We heard from writers of all ages, and we heard fine tales. We had so much fun that we decided to take our show on the road. We may still need a booking agent. But we've already got our drummer—Patrick, who works at Hooray for Books—who blew us away with his charm and words.

But look at the first photo here. That is my family. My father, who was in Alexandria to spend time with his grandchildren, my sister (just back from San Diego), and her two younger children, Claire and Daniel; Julia, her eldest, a photographer, joined us later. I am used to trekking out on book talk missions alone; it was incredible to have family near. I had made them many promises about the goodness of Debbie Levy, and Debbie lived up to every inch of them.

Great thanks to Serena, who joined us with her family, and to Deborah and Will, gracious hosts. And thank you to the wonderful guests who contributed so much to the day. I signed my first in-store copies of Handling the Truth yesterday, signing copy number 1 to a fourteen-year-old girl who had arrived with her parents and who expressed such interest in reading and writing that it will fuel me for a very long time. And I signed my first paperback copies of Small Damages. That, too, was a fine, fine thing.

6 comments:

kelly said...

I am so glad it went well, and sorry once again that I couldn't be your chauffeur. Our road trip will have to wait . . .

Serena said...

Glad you had a great time. It was great fun and good to see you, and watch your family interact and react as you sort of put them on the spot! :)

patti.mallett_pp said...

SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU, BETH!! It was a day that will live long (forever), in your mind and heart. A day you needed. Love you. xo

Janice Kephart said...

Wonderful to return home to children and our Dad so happy to take in afternoon with their aunt showing us exactly how professional, engaging and gifted she it! The kids were looking on in a bit of awe, and that of itself was something for me to behold, being the recipient of other types of looks quite often! Providing them each with some serious inspiration, part two of wonderful. Glad you survived the drive and proved to yourself it is not that bad. Even on a weekend in the summer!

Debbie Levy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Levy said...

Beth, we are going to have to form a mutual admiration society. I gladly would have yielded you the floor for the full 90 minutes--that's how engaging you are! Thank you for your enthusiasm. I'm enjoying SMALL DAMAGES and looking forward to reading HANDLING THE TRUTH.

When's our next gig?

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