Yes, I did. I made a ten-year-old boy swoon! It made my whole day. I had just arrived at the stage where I would be reading at Wordstock, when I saw a boy fall down on a bean bag chair in that dramatic way boys have, limbs every which way, and he sort of lay there looking paralyzed and I thought he was just being a boy. . . but a few minutes later I found out he fell down because of me!!!! He picked himself up and told me my book is the best book ever. Made my day. Here he is:
(Hi, Owen! Thanks!) (Oh, and I photoshopped my roots in that picture. Is that wrong?)
The reading went well. I was, of course, nervous. I decided to read not from Blackbringer but a chapter each from Silksinger and Goblin Fruit. Attendance was pretty good; sales afterward were pretty good. Alexandra (erstwhile blogger) threatened all sorts of shenanigans, like how she was going to ask me if I would estimate Magpie is more the size of a KFC chicken drumstick or a Thanksgiving turkey drumstick, but in the end, she asked nothing. Nothing! Alexandra, passing up the chance to ask a silly question, and this right after declaring she'd missed her calling by not becoming an interviewer! I think her true callling is as a blog commenter (come on, let's see what you got!)
Thank you SO MUCH to Kim and Natalie and Jennifer and Camille for coming! And of course, my parents and Penny and my photographer/bodyguard/illustrator/spouse Jim (just kidding about the bodyguard part -- sort of!) And to unknown folks who came, and serendipitious encounters, Matthew and the poet-men and Karla. And Owen. Thanks, all. The day was a good illustration of one of the things we love about Portland: crossing paths. We had just arrived when we ran into a guy I used to work with at one of my first jobs in Portland seven years ago. He worked in the bakery and I in the restaurant of a well-known Portland dessert place, but he left to go and be in a Tom Cruise movie with his twin (seriously -- they were the pre-cogs in the pool in Minority Report), and later they both went to get MFAs in poetry in Austin, TX. Cool, no? Well, he was reading with another Oregon poet yesterday and they were both amazing: Matthew Dickman and Mike McGriff. So that was one Portland serendipity.
The other turned into a serendipity later in the day. Owen, my new favorite ten-year-old, happened to be the son of the director of the festival; I met both his parents, who are both awesome. Imagine: a dad who directs a literary festival and a mom who owns a chocolate shop. Books and chocolate: this kid's got it made! Anyway, after we got home that evening, Jim was flipping through a magazine that had been delivered to the house: It's called "Mix" and it's "Portland's Magazine of Food & Drink" and Jim paused on a photo and said, "Funny, that looks like. . ." and it was. It was Owen's mom, Sarah, who owns Alma Chocolate on NE 28th, in an article on how to throw a fuss-free awesome friday night dinner party with margaritas and braised beef tacos. Ha ha! The cool thing is that this sort of thing happens all the time in Portland. Not exactly this, like meeting someone at a book festival and then later that same day seeing them smiling in a glossy food magazine, but just paths crossing. Or happening upon a poetry reading by an old co-worker. Portland: small town feel with the accoutrements of city.
I also got to chat with Michael Hoeye, a local author who also publishes with Putnam! I had heard him speak at SCBWI three or four years ago and he was a truly fabulous speaker. He had bright orange hair at the time, but no longer. Maybe he was a subconscious influence on my own hair choice? Maybe. Here's an interview in which he tells how his first book came to be written (very interesting story!)
Here's me with Owen again. He's reading some manga on the big book statue while I am having my picture taken.
And one last slightly weird story: I was on the phone at the festival, while walking, trying to find Alexandra who had vanished (as it turned out, she had left kind of like Cinderella without saying goodbye) when some guy said he liked my hair and I, distractedly, said thank you and was turning away with phone to ear when he put out his hand and said his name, and I, distractedly, shook it. I was barely paying attention, I admit, but then he asked, bluntly, "Are you single?" and right then Jim walked up which was nice and I just said no, thankyou and went on my way, but the reason I am telling this story is not because I may or may not have been hit on but because it was so weirdly blunt, and this is what it reminded me of:
Some time in the past weeks or months Jim and I rewatched some of the first-ever episodes of Angel on DVD (the vampire show, not Dark Angel), and there was an episode about a demon creature that [gross alert!] had to have a new human host body every day and the bodies fell apart so fast he kept having to transfer to new ones, and the way he did this was by picking up lonely hearts in the bars of LA (of course, all these "lonely hearts" were way too hot to be as desperate as they were supposed to be, this being TV). The demon-inside-the-hot-human would use the same pickup lines every time, and then at the end, being thwarted by the forces of good from his transition to a new body, and stuck in a falling-apart body, he was going up to women with his face half falling off, saying his pick-up lines, desperately trying to find a new host. It was grotesque-funny (anyone remember that episode?) Anyway, this guy's face was not falling off (yet), but do you think it is just possible he was a demon in desperate need of a new human host? Maybe? I'm going to say he was. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. The day the desperate demon asked me if I was single. ha ha. Maybe I should have alerted security?