Rosie's Book Picks

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who knew? "The Sweet By and By" is one of Rosie O'Donnell's Book Picks on rosie.com. Click here to check it out. She has no clue that I was on her show back in the day singing backup for Manilow. Music and passion were always the fashion...

TV Interview on "Bookwatch"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"NC Bookwatch" is a great program produced by UNC-TV that features NC authors, many of whom are my own literary heroes -- Reynolds Price, Allan Gurganus, Lee Smith...the list goes on. It's a full half-hour, which means that it's a lot more in-depth than any TV interview I've ever done, so feel free to fast forward! You won't miss much, except the part where I nervously knock over a mug full of ice water, drenching myself and the host. Kidding. CLICK HERE to have a look.

"Sweet" Photo...


Thanks to the KSS Book Club and Donna Wright for the great photo! I love the "OPEN" sign -- a perfect caption!

Post-Vacation

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twenty-four hours back at home is usually enough to annihilate any amount of vacation bliss. I'm fighting that hourly by closing my eyes whenever I hear the familiar noise of my life, trying to remember every detail of relaxed days away. I'm lucky to have a summer birthday because it usually means I'm traveling. This year, in Provence(!), I went horseback riding, galloping through vineyards, clouds of red field dirt trailing behind me. It gave new meaning to leaving something (or someone) behind in the dust. All I had to do was get on and go.

Before I left the country, I wrote about doing a reading from The Sweet By and By for the first time in a retirement community that included a nursing home facility. When my host suggested that we add the event to my calendar, I eagerly accepted. Then, standing in the parking lot prior to going inside, I panicked. What if the residents found me presumptuous about their experience? I had never lived what they were living. I looked up from the podium constantly, searching for signals. Outsider or insider? Accepted or rejected? When I took off my reading glasses (I do need them and not just for effect), I was met with big smiles and big laughter and bigger applause (and yes, some people even woke up). And then I got it. It wasn't the book, and definitely not me. They were clapping for themselves. The only thing I had done was try to see them, and they were grateful to be seen. One woman with shining blue eyes told me of a winter romance when she and her late husband met in their eighties. A soft-spoken man told me, through tears, of being homesick when he was sent to Chapel Hill (my alma mater), his first time ever away from home, to study meteorology for a short time before being shipped off to war. For each person, a story. And finally, another elegantly dressed old soul asked during the Q and A, "How long does it take to get a book published?" I tried to answer, but what do I know, really? She raised her hand again and asked the same question. Five times in a row she raised her hand and asked exactly the same thing. And I loved the fact that each time she asked, it was as though she had thought of a brand new idea. Which is more than I can say for the author.