Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I've got your back (and your pen)
Last night, I attended a book signing for my friend, Jean Whatley. She was signing copies of her first (of many, I am sure) book, "Off The Leash." The event was held at Subterranean Books in the Loop (for those of you out of town, it's a trendy, eclectic neighborhood in St. Louis).
But I digress, I went for two reasons.
One: I wanted to meet Jean. While I consider her a friend we've never met - not in person anyway. We met through a writer friend we have in common - Linda O'Connell. Of the I-write-every-day-and-everything-gets-accepted O'Connell's (okay, I'm kidding, but she's GOOD folks!). And someday, I hope to finish my own novel and stand behind that podium. And maybe, just maybe, Jean will be there to hand me a pen.
Anyway, I arrived just a few minutes late, and walked into a darling little book shop. Ya know those books shops that just ooze character? It could be in a movie, this book store. You know, like the one in "You've Got Mail"? It's that quaint.
So, I walk in, and Jean's voice floats down from the second-floor loft (okay it didn't float - she has a much more commanding voice that that). People stand on every step of the staircase, lean over railings, and crowd around listening to Jean read from her book.
When she finishes, someone from upstairs calls down, "we need pens!" Someone from the store pulls one out of her purse, and since I am standing right there, I say, "I'll take it up to her." I do. I am like Moses walking up those stairs, people parting to the left and right (boy, I'm on a role today, huh?) and as I reach the second floor landing, I see a swarm of people. Men, women, kids - even a dog! Sitting, standing, waiting to talk with Jean. I walk through the throngs, and past a tv camera and stand in front of Jean and her podium, holding up the pen. "Jean," I smile.
"You're Beth Wood!" She recognizes me - I guess from my facebook or blog profile picture. We hug like old friends. And because she thinks I'm even "cuter in person" I think I like her even more. I truly feel like I've known this woman for a great many years.
Writing will do that to you. It brings like-minded artists together. We share the misery, the stress, the defeat, the joys, the understanding, man that it's what we gotta do. Like it or not. Good or bad, blood on the keyboard or no, we just get it. We stick together. Like my WWWPs and me.
Which is Reason #2 for me attending last night. Because we writers have to support each other, dream for each other, critique, help, motivate, each other.
But I digress. Again. Jean is, how do you say? One. Hell. Of. A. Writer. Really. She is. She had me from the very first blog post I read of hers. She has a way of getting right to the heart of things with no drama (and believe you me, she has reason to be dramatic if she wants to), no pity, just real, raw emotion. But the real reason I am in awe of her writing is because she can DIGRESS like nobody's business. The woman can swing from north to south and back again and we're just ... along for the ride. Nodding our heads, like yeah.
One of my favorite things to write about on my blog is books. I'm my own little book review club over here. I've just finished Jennifer Niven's "Becoming Clementine" and am working on that review. And now I've got our very own Jean Ellen Whatley's book to enjoy, and review.
Jean, I hope I do ya proud, because I've just started reading, and I am hooked.
So proud of you. So happy for you. And looking forward to buying you a margarita over at Nacho Mama's very soon...