|Red Ruby Heart underneath the lights.|
I've gone into a middle school to meet with teachers after school, to the 4th floor of a condominium where one of the women began crying over Carlie's disappearance and wanted comfort and an explanation from me regarding my decisions as Carlie's creator. (It's fiction, folks.) Discussion and questions - and reactions - indicate to me that I, as a writer, have created a world real enough to care about. And that tells me that I've done my job, for the most part. I've met an amazing group of people, and I feel lucky to have been invited into their homes and hearts.
|Decoration for book club meeting at Kathy Leighton's house.|
|Steamed mussels with garlic and wine, prepared by Brian.|
|Amazing blueberry cake, made by Kathy Leighton.|
She (with some help from her husband, Brian, and their dog, Sandy) cooked seafood, supplied wine, and decorated the table with red ruby hearts and stars. This was such a wonderful thing to do - so creative and thoughtful. If this wasn't enough, she also had Brian set off fire crackers at an un-timed moment during the evening (a fire cracker raid is a crucial early part of the book). We sat around a large table with lit candles and discussed the book, and we talked about their lives and the book club, which celebrates their January meeting with a Yankee swap, wherein a gift that they may have received that doesn't suit them is put up for swap. They dress up in costume for some books. They live whatever they are reading in some special way. And my book was no exception to them. They had some very good questions and some observations that should have occurred to me, that challenged me as the author of the book to pay more attention to small details (details that I thought I had covered). I felt so welcomed and part of their experience. It was a rare and unexpected, delightful evening.
|Sandy (Sandra when she's bad), the golden retriever.|
But that night, in Kathy Leighton's home, I felt, well, vindicated for my choices. I love talking about my work. I love talking about what I'm passionate about, what I do best. I felt grounded in their belief in my work and in my words. I felt welcome and wrapped up in their warmth, their humor, and in their full lives.
|Forsythia, West End, Portland, Maine, April 12, 2012.|
I am humbled by those who have opened their worlds to me and held my girl and her world in their hearts, and let me know that it has meant something to them.
|The "Not-So-Stuffy" Book Club. Kathy Leighton, the hostess, to the left.|