Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Salon: When life fights back

It's been a week of real highs and lows for me. The week started off really well. A while ago I agreed to be on a panel about Blogging in the Literary World for Central Piedmont Community College's Sensoria Literary Festival. I agreed to participate without knowing much about what was going to be expected of me and then I blithely forgot about it. Fast forward to last weekend and I was a little freaked out about what I needed to do for it. Plus, as those of you who know me personally and saw my Facebook post know, my daughter reminded me that I am "iffy around others." I am a complete introvert to boot. I mean, I am the woman who didn't want to have everyone looking at me at my wedding. Far from wanting to be the center of attention, I would prefer to fade into the wallpaper. And yet, I agreed to park myself at a table facing a whole bunch of people who expected me to be at least quasi-intelligent, reasonably literate, and entertaining to boot. So you can see why I was a little nervous about all of it. But it went off beautifully, if I do say so myself.
Amy Burns, from the CPCC library, was the moderator and Susan at Pages Turned, Carin at Caroline Bookbinder, Emily at Reading While Female, and Amy at Sadie Belle Reads were my fellow panelists. The conversation ranged from discussing review copies and how we each read to diversity in the blogging world and publishing. We touched on why blogs are important publicity tools in the reading world, various ways to use blogs in the classroom, how other forms of social media compare to blogs, the way that many book blogs are getting away from strict reviews and asking larger questions, whether authors should blog, and so much more. We fielded questions from the audience and just generally had a good time. It's funny how so much of blogging can occur in a vacuum and yet when we all met at this panel, how much of a community we were immediately. When I got home from my day, D. asked me how it all went. I think I summed it up by saying, "There were 25 people there and only three of them were brought by fellow panelists." Pretty darn successful!

Later that same night, I had the chance to extend my bookish day by going to dinner with some fantastic authors before attending the Charlotte chapter of the WNBA's Spring Meet the Authors Event at Park Road Books. Dinner with Susan M. Boyer, author of Lowcountry Boneyard; Marianne Gingher, author of Amazing Places: What North Carolina Means to Writers; Leigh Ann Henion, author of Phenomenal: A Hestitant Adventurer's Search for Wonder in the Natural World; and Karen White, author of A Long Time Gone, was fantastic. Every last one of these women was a delight to chat with. David Joy, author of Where All the Light Tends to Go, joined us after dinner for the meeting and he was wonderful as well. The event was casual, with there being some reading from the books but more of the authors just sharing stories about their writing, their inspiration, other things that have happened to them on tour, in their publisher's offices and so on. There was a lot of laughter during the evening and I would love to get all of them around a dinner table again, just to soak in the fun. They signed books for people after the event (oddball that I am, I don't like to get books signed but I do assure you that I went home with a full compliment of them, unsigned) and chatted with everyone there. Most enjoyable.

The following day was W.'s last high school tennis match ever. I arrived early with the chicken nuggets the boys always want for Senior Night. I set them and the grapes and bananas down and backed away as fast as I could so I didn't lose an a body part as 18 teenaged boys inhaled everything within arm's reach. Just after they finished smacking their lips and moved out onto the courts to warm-up, the heavens opened up and poured just long enough to make the match an iffy proposition. Luckily the small breeze, warm sun, coaches rolling the courts, and a dad armed with a leaf blower managed to clear the courts well enough for the match to happen. The three seniors on the team were recognized and D. and I got to go out on the court with W. for pictures and the coach's comments. I still remember the senior night from his freshman year like it was yesterday and am having trouble believing that he's the one getting ready to be done with high school now.  Makes a girl feel old.  We won the match and clinched the Conference title so it was the best possible day.

But after the beginning of the week, life fought back to balance out the good. I just want to say here that there's no reason to have a balance in life; life's not a darn seesaw and I'd be more than happy to have a plethora of good and a lot less bad. But that was not to be. On Friday, the gas cap broke off in the kids' car, making it impossible to remove to get the gas they so desperately needed so D. drove the older kids to school and then took the car to have it fixed. It should have been a 10 minute fix and a new $40 gas cap but when the guy at the garage backed it out of the bay, he crashed it into another car parked back there. The bumper is badly cracked and the tail light cover shattered. Luckily it's still driveable and they will be fixing all of it but it's an aggravation we didn't need. Oh, and we didn't have to pay for the gas cap. But that was really the least of our worries.

On Thursday, I had to take my beloved Daisy dog to the vet, where they kept her overnight to try and rehydrate her and bring her kidney values down. Her kidneys have been failing for a while now and it seems we're in an acute situation. She came home from the vet on Friday in the late afternoon but her numbers are still not good, she's still having trouble keeping any food down, and she's sleeping a lot. When she is awake, she has bursts of being her old self but in general, it is clear that we are saying goodbye to her (and I'm typing this through tears, of course).

W. is still deciding where he wants to go to college and we had arranged for him to go and spend the night with one of my parents' friend's grandson at one of his top options. This was for Friday night, after I'd found out how bad Daisy was. I debated keeping W. home to love the dog but ultimately decided he should go. And I'm glad I did. He had a great time, went to his first frat party, and came back full of enthusiasm for college. Then R. had a scheduled lock-in (sleepover) with her dance team on Saturday night.  I picked her up from that this morning. Daisy is not any better but she doesn't seem worse so I guess we just go on with life as it is until she lets us know it is time to let go. I don't imagine there will be much reading or reviewing going on in the meantime as all I really want to do is love my fur baby as best I can.

For the above mentioned reason, my reading was a little light this week but my reading travels did take me a few places. I learned about the vagaries of grammar from the comma queen of the New Yorker, sculled in an eight man boat in Washington on the way to an Olympic Gold Medal in Hitler's 1936 Berlin Games, and headed to West Virginia for John Brown's hanging where I witnessed his daughter Sarah's determination to continue to aid the abolition movement through her painting at the same time as a modern day woman starts to uncover the amazing history behind her historic home while she works through her feelings about her marriage. Now I am immersed in a collection of essays about being Chinese-American, and specifically a Chinese-American male, in today's world. Where did your reading take you this week?


  1. Sending lots of love and hugs your way and for Daisy. We have four fur babies, and I know exactly how much a part of the family they are. Hang in there, and I hope life throws you some more great moments like the ones earlier in the week.

  2. So sorry to hear about Daisy. I'm glad the blogging panel went well; I was tempted to come down and see it but the thought of parking at CPCC put me off. One day I'll get down there. I can't wait to hear where your son decides to go to college. We're about to jump on the college admittance wheel next year and I know that process is stressful. I hope this week is a better one!

  3. Cool that you had a chance to share blogging with an audience of readers!

    I had a car get in accident at the repair shop once -- very annoying!

    So sorry about Daisy. That's a tough time to get through.

    Joy's Book Blog

  4. Gracious, what a week! A car crash at a car repair spot? Odd. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog.

  5. Sorry about Daisy. Heartbreaking for a family. Hope the good is really good this week

  6. I'm so sorry about your baby, Kristin. I enjoyed meeting you. I agree we did seem to become an "immediate community."


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