I’m not really sure what “fraught with peril” means, but it sounds like how a Victorian person might say “jacked-up.” And everyone knows Victorian people were all educated and literary sounding. Well, the rich people, not the ones selling fish off a wooden cart and spreading small pox to each other like it was going out of style. In order to sound literary for my book signing, I should probably have paid more attention to how the pretty people lived.
My book signing was not the rich Victorian kind, it was a lot more fish-carty kind. It started out in the wee hours of the morning with me running over a raccoon in my own driveway, creating a lovely roadkill diorama for the neighbors to see. The raccoon thing got me a little flustered, so I turned the wrong direction away from the squishy tableau and went the wrong way for about five miles, thinking about who I could even call to remove the animal before I got back home.
The book signing itself was great (shameless plug: both of the books on the right-hand side of the screen were available…more people wanted to know about autism than wanted to know about my husband pissing me off royally by stealing my artificial legs and hiding them while I was asleep. No, I don’t have artificial legs. Email me to order these things autographed.). The weather was craptastic at first but then it behaved itself for the rest of the weekend. My parents came to the event because how do you spend an entire childhood going to every cute-assed thing your kid does then NOT come to her first book signing?
And therein lies the problem (Victorian speak for “here’s where it kind of went bad”). My mom, ever helpful and supportive of my career, offered to man my table of books while I went in search of a bathroom, which ended up being a well-used porta potty…or “loo” to Victorian peasants…across from a very long line of people trying to buy barbeque sandwiches from the local high school band. I returned to find her chatting happily with some lovely-looking people who were thumbing through one of my books and nodding their heads thoughtfully. Then I heard this:
“She writes a lot like Jane Austen. If Jane had been on crack.”
After the people who used to want to read books of any kind fled the scene, I had a very polite conversation about Mom’s description of my writing and her general opinion of my career.
ME: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???
MOM: What? They asked me what genre you write and quite honestly, I couldn’t think of an answer.
ME: JANE AUSTEN ON CRACK?
MOM: Well, they were dressed like Jane Austen fans.
ME: I don’t recall seeing an empire waist dress or a bonnet in the bunch. What made you think, “I should probably tell them she writes like a fucked-up Jane Austen?”
MOM: No, silly, they were dressed like people from this era who would like Jane Austen. They had socks on with their Keds sneakers. And the drugs were secondary. I probably should have told them opium though, I don’t think Austen had access to crack in her day.
MOM: Well, you’re not normal. I didn’t want to mislead them.
All in all it was a very pleasant event. Mom and I read several books between us throughout the weekend, Dad walked around the festival and reported back to us on where all the cool yard art could be found, and I met the very specific niche demographic who now thinks of hardcore drugs when they think of literature.