more book fest
October 25, 2006
Darnell Arnoult knows every writer who has ever lived below the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mighty Mississippi. I am not kidding.
We share an editor, Arnoult and I, and Leslie (our shared editor) and Leslie's assistant Andy hooked us up with copies of each other's books by way of introduction. I got a good chunk of Darnell's Sufficient Grace read on the plane and it is gorgeous and lush and wonderful.
But that isn't my point of this post. Still, you should read it. And I say that not as someone trying to make my imprint some money -- dude, my imprint has Dr. Phil so it doesn't need me to pimp for it -- but as a reader.
In the span of the 45 minutes or so that Ms A and I had coffee on Sunday morning at the Southern Festival of Books, I got to meet a very bewlidered Kaye Gibbons (there was a story w/r/t her bewilderment that involved no sleep, a sick kid and too many planes), shared coffee and cream cheese with Margaret Sartor, who I totally want to have take my picture, and met Tennessean columnist Gloria Ballard and Dove-nominated songwriter Belinda Smith, who happens to be Arnoult's cousin.
And if there was a writer who walked past who Arnoult may not have known personally, she had a lovely story about them, like her tale of John Hope Franklin's humility and humanity. I have a suspicion that she is the hub of the Southern Writer wheel, if a hub who very low-key and social. It is a working hypothesis, anyway, and I dare you to offer up another that is as satisfying.
Among our many conversations was one that involved Amazon and how addictive it can be for writers to continually check, simply because you want some sort of feedback even if you knwo that feedback is faulty. I am guilty of this and have been known to get a little blue whenever my number is higher than I would like. The best idea would be to ignore it entirely.
You can't see me, but I'm laughing myself silly just imagining *not* checking it. As if.
As we were leaving, Arnoult asked me two questions.
"Are Scott Miller and your husband Scott the same person?"
Perhaps I was simply giddy from all of the coffee. It took me a bit to recollect myself.
"If Miller and I got married it would end like some Appalachian murder ballad," I explained, once I stopped giggling. "I love him to pieces but there would be lots of drinking and someone would get drowned. Or maybe shot, come to think of it."
Her second question is one that I hope gets asked frequently:
"What was with all the knitters in your reading?"