Am back from the reading at the University of North Texas and have catapulted to fame. Woke up this morning to find the paparazzi flashing unflattering pictures of me in curlers, short shorts, and cowboy boots with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of my mouth. Dear God!I threw my Slurpee at them and then shaved my head which proved difficult b/c of the curlers.
The people at UNT were extremely nice and it was only marginally awkward to have to talk intelligently about writing to a group of strangers. The plane was delayed by two hours and so I had to rush to this coffee talk with grad students, then to a Q & A, then dinner, then had an hour to practice my reading at the Radisson and subsequently lost track of time and had to get ready in 14 minutes. The reading went well though I again self-edited some of the work as I was going b/c some of it seemed too repetitious. Afterwards, I signed books and tried to think of clever little messages to write in everyone's book flap such as 2 good 2 B 4 gotten. One girl asked to have her picture taken with me and another kid wrote "phone #?" in the margins of the book. I said, I live in Philadelphia, you know. I gave him my email address instead and found a message from him in my hotmail when I arrived home last night; the first line read: "If this is your real email address..." We are now engaged, long distance. Happy Valentine's Day to me! Another girl said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Drew Barrymore except with darker hair? From a distance, I mean?" (i.e. up close, I resemble DB's granny, Ethel). Found out that UNT has run an ad for the book in the Jan/Feb issue of Poet's and Writer's and something else in the last AWP magazine.
After the reading, one professor asked me why I repeat phrases like "everything, everything, everything." That was the hardest question to answer, but I said something like, because what it really means is "why did you leave me behind?" but saying that directly would be less interesting, more obvious. Other questions asked: Do you have a favorite story in the collection? How did your organize the stories? How much of this is autobiographical? (7 %) Is there a certain time of day that you write? Where do you get your ideas? Is the way you write and the way you think the same? How did you get started writing? Who were your favorite writers as a kid? Do you always have cats in your stories? (Yes).
Now it appears that I need to write a novel. Maybe something about Evie. I wish I could do it in my sleep.