Sunday, July 28, 2013
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.