The book launch party was a blast. I’m so grateful to everyone who came out -I think we had fun! And to Chris and Bill and everyone at Longfellow Books who helped make this happen. And yes, that was my mother scraping the poster with my face on it off the front of your store so she could keep it -more on her later.
So many friends, colleagues, former colleagues, cousins, former roommates, teachers, students and of course family. I read two short pieces from the book. One as reader’s theater with the incomparable Liz Hardcastle who was not at all intimidated by the three pages of notes on her intonation that I gave her, and one on my own. Afterwards I was so excited to be done I tried to grab a cupcake and run. But then there was my mother -who stood up (I’m not making this up or exaggerating) and demanded that I answer some questions. Because being a mother is never done and sometimes when your kid tries to turn and flee you have to stop her.
“Was I too obtrusive?” she asked later. We all know what the right answer is don’t we? In all seriousness, I couldn’t be more grateful. Everyone had incredible questions and answering them turned out to be my favorite part. Because I was talking about something I love with people I love.
So many of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in Maine have been so supportive -posting pictures of the book as it arrives at your door and sharing your excitement as you read it. Everyone of those messages is like a big old hug and makes me feel even more blessed. I’d like to share with you what I said as an introduction on Thursday night -so it can be just like you were there. That and a few photos.
Thanks for the love.
The only thing I knew when I was seventeen and applying to college was that I wanted something different from high school and didn’t include fraternities or sororities –which seemed to me at the time like an extension of everything I disliked about high school.
My tour guide at Oberlin College was named Bony. He was a very large, purple haired gay, dance major from the Philippines. And I remember thinking to myself as he toured us through a student cooperative where the people threw food at us –if this guy can be comfortable here to be himself, I’ll have no problem.
I ended up living in that very same cooperative my sophomore year. My roommate and I were far and away the preppiest people to live there, maybe ever. But, And, I loved it. I loved being a part of something that seemed so dangerously different from everything I’d been told was important about being a grown up. The Other Way Around is a little bit of a love letter to that experience. It’s about finding a group of people that make you feel at home, even if they are very different from you and everything you’ve known before.
I don’t pretend to live some radical anarchist vegan lifestyle. I never have and probably never will. But I know that it’s out there. I have sat through a conversation where people argued about whether or not eating honey was exploiting the labor of the bees. And somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I was taking notes, probably with a bemused look on myself. Someday, I must have told myself, this will be useful to you.
I am so grateful that you are all here tonight to celebrate me and The Other Way Around. It really means everything that you’re here to share in the story and the sharing of the story. Because, as Lance who frequently accuses me of embellishing the truth for the sake of comic timing can attest to, or my parents who made constant trips to the library or book store know, I do love a good story.
Photos by the fabulous Travis Gray!