Sunday, February 24, 2019

Desert Nights, Rising Stars, Bohemian Rhapsody

Epic, indeed.

This will be a sad blog.

I think I've attended four of these conferences, including the very first one. I was a presenter once. (I cannot even remember what I discussed, nor do I want to ponder this question: Have I moved down a notch?) I got an agent on another time. (I've gone rogue since then, if you know what I mean.) I still think about watching Adam Johnson dashing down thoughts on a chalkboard in a crowded room in the Piper Center upon a different occasion. But this was the first time that I was an "exhibitor."

Pushing my fiction?


Working the crowd?

You might need to be from this part of Phoenix to understand our response to WEATHER. We are not fully equipped to deal. When that rain and cold and--WAS THAT SLEET?--hit the freakin' Valley of the Sun, we natives flip out. I mean, I'll be ready for this in Portland. But Tempe?

We were sorta rained out. The front lawn of Old Main on the ASU campus was a swamp.

Jake Friedman, who ran the show, was supremely professional and accommodating--willing to shlep boxes from cars, get me an easel, set us up on the front porch, etc. I drank hot tea from the Piper kitchen. Jake, you were great. But I think the Almighty was involved. . . .

I'd be totally lying if I blamed my dismal exhibiting performance on the weather.

What then? What can I blame? There has to be something I can blame??????????


I won't succumb. I will only say this.

And now I will show you some pictures!

Check out the rain
But it's still so pretty.

I think, in all honesty, it takes a kind of brazen confidence to stick with this literary thing. It's often mistaken for ego, which is sad. It's not ego. You need to believe that you're actually good and that your work is worth sharing. How insane is that? How crazy is it to think, You Should Read My Book?

But I've experienced this "failure" before. I once had a Costco Book Signing (for Freak in 2012). It was pretty funny, and I'm sure they'll never have me back. I handed out samples. 

But back at Desert Nights . . .

 I finally got to talk about U2 with Alberto Rios! Now, if you know me, you know I'm being entirely honest here:  I FINALLY got to talk about U2 with Alberto Rios! I love U2, and I took my kids to this concert, and it was a bit of a milestone because it was my kids' first concert and probably my last since it was rather late and loud and nuts . . . but I went and there was an Alberto Rios poem cascading over the crowd in light. 

All I can say is that I seriously was not kissing butt because I REALLY wanted to tell Alberto Rios, I Saw Your Poem! So Did My Kids!

There were other fun moments . . . 

This is Kelly Houle, who went to high school with one of my best friends, Scott Hyder. She's now a famous artist! Yes, Scott, I said hi. Amazing hair.

Leah Newsom was a creative writing student of mine at Phoenix College,years ago,  and now she's  finishing her MFA . I remember her distinctly because she had quit her job and decided that it was time to bite the bullet. If she wanted to be a writer, she had to go all the way in. And she has! My guess is that we'll continue to bump into each other in the years to come. It was great to see her!

So a little about my flopping.

First, I shared a table with this marketing goddess, Kay Hartford. Like she was a pro.

More inside info . . . If you know me, you know I'm actually NOT a hustler--despite my obnoxious social media persona. I'm all writer. In person, I'm quiet.

Kay scared me. She was super nice--that's not what I'm saying. I liked her. She was a character, and I hope to see her at the Tucson Book Fest next weekend (oy!). I trusted her to watch my purse when I got coffee or went to the bathroom. She writes cozy mysteries (I'm not entirely sure what that means) and she was offering free stuff. Here's her website.

So Kay was hustling like a total pro and I was sitting there with my literary fiction after my publisher honored the preorders and then declared herself kaput, leaving me to establish BoGoDo. Oh My Dear Lord in Heaven!!!

We were the Odd Couple.

I will say this: Kay Hartford saw that rain, and got to work making the best of it.
I'm the one with the garbage bag for a tablecloth. Because I needed a tablecloth????  Jackie Cowsill, my '"promoter," saw this picture and said, "Oh, girlfriend." I suggested that it was steampunk? She said, "Not so much."

I brought a scarf the next day to use as a tablecloth. 
See, once I brought a tablecloth AND candy. For some reason, I lost my savvy. 

But the REAL flop was my reading to an audience of, um, let's-not-go-there. 

A Few Final Notes On The Conference . . . 

This is actually a photo from the October "Meet Your Literary Community" event, at which I met Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow for the first time. I did run into her again here! (No photo.) But I feel like seeing her warrants attention because I just really liked her immediately. In all honesty, it wasn't this writer-connection. Rather, we both have sadly been very much impacted by cancer. She saw the title to my memoir-in-progress, Cancer, I'll Give You One Year: A Non-Informative Guide To Breast Cancer, or Cancer, I'll Give You One Year: How To Get Your Ba-Da-Bing Boobies On The House! She introduced herself, and now I want to hug her when I see her. I'm thinking that part of the connection is that we both feel intrinsically and deeply married to our respective husbands, and it somehow emanates from our beings. Ha! How's that, Cynthia????

I read all of Jennifer Clement's AMAZING novel while sitting there. Like, I read my book. How not-pro is that?
Read this. I love it.

My husband and I watched this last night. 

Mercury was--get ready for this weird comparison--in the Joe Cocker Category. The music, the Art of It, belonged so intensely to him that his body was this conduit. He breathed it. He couldn't help it.

Finally, while I worked, my husband took my kids to see snow is Prescott. They'd NEVER seen it before.

I lamented my absence a bit. But he's a great dad.

Though he's no mom. He took them to Panda Express for lunch up there. Mom would've insisted on spinach wraps at some cute cafe. Not dad.

They had a great time.

They both threw up in the middle of the night.


  1. Oh gosh, this post is really swell! It has all the fantastic, abundant energy the rainy, soggy day was sorely lacking. You are lovely and full of great joy!