At Penn, At Home: Two Small Damages Sightings

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A few weeks ago, I, like most every other voting American ultimately is, was summoned for jury duty. The news came at a treacherous time—so much client work and a book to launch and some overwhelming, long-tail exhaustion—and yet, I wasn't going to shirk the responsibility. We live in a democracy, and jury duty is part of our contractual obligation. 

Still, when my number was not called—when 78 jurors were needed and I had been labeled 86—I was, in a word, relieved. Two words: Greatly relieved. I was able to do, in broad daylight, all that I would have had to do at night.

One of those things involved a trip to the University of Pennsylvania campus, which I was photographing for an upcoming story. By the time I was done with my work, I had just 18 minutes to catch my train, and so I cut through the Penn bookstore on Walnut Street, to get a little closer to Chestnut. I know this bookstore well, spend happy time in it, noticed that the shelves had been rearranged. A large teen fiction section now beckoned. I took the slightest detour, the quickest look. There, to my happy surprise, sat Small Damages, the paperback. I snapped a photograph while a man walked by. "I wrote that," I said. He smiled.

Today I rose in the dark and banged away (again) at corporate work, grateful for the tumbling hours. I didn't leave my chair for hours, didn't live the weather, which aggrieved me. It was late in the afternoon when I went out to the stoop and found a box that had been addressed to me.

And there they were, my very own copies of Small Damages, a book I will always love for all it represents—faith in one's self over many years, collaboration with a beautiful editor and house. And this paperback edition—it's just gorgeous.

Two gifts on two given days.


Serena said...

Wonderful. I'll have to buy a copy for my little friend, F.

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