I spent last Thursday in New York City. Oftentimes a single day in the city feels like three by the time I leave, and Thursday was no exception.
When I am in the city, I like to get a lot done.
A few notes from that day:
1. My first stop was MacMillan Audio, where I teamed up with my friend and colleague, Donna Gosk, who also happens to be a character in my next book. While attempting to create a fictional teacher who my protagonist would love and respect, I decided that I would simply use Donna, who is one of the finest teachers I have ever known. As a result, I have transformed Donna into a nonfictional-fictional character, at least for the purposes of the book (though many who know Donna might say that she is a bit of a fictional character in real life as well).
After learning that Donna is a real person, the good people at MacMillan decided to interview the two of us for a segment that will be placed at the end of the audiobook. It was a brilliant idea on their part, and I think listeners will find it very interesting.
How often does a reader get to hear a fictional character speak in real life?
2. Donna and I joined my editor, my editor’s assistant, and author Ann Leary for lunch following our interview. I eat lunch everyday at work with a large group of women, and this lunch turned out to be no different.
Having spent the last thirteen years teaching elementary school, I can’t remember the last time I had a weekday lunch with a man.
There was much talk around the table about 50 SHADES OF GRAY, the recent bestselling book of erotic fiction, which naturally led to even more talk about sex. When this happens at school (which it does quite frequently), I am able to step away, claiming to have papers to correct or a lesson to plan. On Thursday, however, I was stuck with nowhere to hide. I remained quiet for much of the conversation, eating my cheeseburger and learning that, among other things, there is an exceptionally steamy sex scene in the second book of the CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR series that every woman should read.
3. Donna and I also visited the offices of The Daily Beast, where her daughter works on the social media side of the business.. I receive most of my news via The Daily Beast, so it was exciting to see the organization, which is larger than I would have ever imagined, in action.
4. I was joined by friends for a Moth StorySlam performance later that evening at Housing Works in the East Village. This is the couple who we have chosen as godparents of our next child, yet I learned over dinner that the husband, a man who I consider a close friend and is a member of our book club (so we at least occasionally reads), has never read either of my books. Needless to say, I was stunned and look forward to the moment when my wife unleashes her wrath upon him.
5. I was lucky enough to have my name drawn from the proverbial Moth hat (it’s actually a tote bag), so I was able to take the stage on Thursday night and tell my story on the topic of Armor. My story centered on the time I rode my bike off our barn roof in a feeble attempt to garner some much-desired attention of my neglectful parents.
It’s ironic that I took the stage and told a story about my inability to get the attention I needed as a child to an audience that included a friend who has failed to read either of my books.
I should have worked that into my story.
Nevertheless I did well, finishing second in a field of ten storytellers. I was beaten by author and former StorySlam winner Diana Spechler, whose story about losing her virginity (which included the difficulties in dealing with her fibrous hymen) was quite deserving of the win. When Diana finished telling her story, I think there was little doubt in the room that she was going to be the winner that evening.
Though I always want to win, the fact that I had already secured a spot in the GrandSlam championship with my StorySlam victory last month made second place slightly less frustrating.
But only slightly less.