My Salt Lake City reading at the King’s English Bookstore had a fantastic turnout. At least forty or fifty people came. As has been the case before, I knew most of them! I got to see old friends from school, their parents, cousins, aunts, and old family friends. Most incredibly, my friend Tami flew into Salt Lake from Tuscon to hear me read. But there was a good handful of people I didn’t know, too, and they weren’t shy in asking questions during the Q&A.
I read exactly what I’ve been reading before, at my other readings, but in hindsight, I would have chosen different material. Though I certainly have a couple characters who speak in a rainbow of obscenities, the majority of my characters don’t, but the former starred in the reading. I chose them thinking about story more than language. But then, when I was up there reading in front of a couple of my LDS friends and their mothers, I thought: you know, I really could have thought this through more.
It’s not that I think I should censor myself because the book is wrong-headed so much as it would’ve been pretty easy to choose sections of my novel that didn’t make people who have been kind to me my whole life feel very uncomfortable, and that still convey the life of my novel itself. Carmen is one of my favorite characters, but she could have stepped back for an evening (though, of course, she’d be delighted to have made some waves).
Of course, most people I talk to didn’t even think about the language in any sense grander than it was colorful language that befitted the characters. I”m surprised I never thought much about it before, though. I’ve lived a long time outside of Utah!
Aside from those worries, the reading went well. People seemed to enjoy it, and were engaged. I sold a number of books to people I know, and people I don’t. It was a bit like the Houston reading where I had the problem of the long line and the inability to scrawl just my name without a note — but again, I am fairly certain this will be the last reading with that problem.
We’re gearing up today to head for Missoula; the first of two eight hour stretches Lila is going to have to tolerate during this road trip. On the trip home from Cedar City, we listened to half of Little House in the Big Woods. It includes a thirty minute description of the scraping and smoking and butchering and blowing-up-of-the-bladders-into-balloons-for-kids of half a dozen animals during preparations for winter. Intense listening for vegetarian ears (it’s a theme for the blog post) but Lila very pragmatically explained to me that in that Wisconsin, in the winter, she’d have to be a meat-eater too.
We also found a game of travel bingo, which even my dad seems to enjoy. As in (Lila! Mary! Are you blind? I just saw a dozen birds fly by, don’t you have birds on your bingo cards?) Today offers the possibility of filling up the ‘entering a new state’ square on the cards twice.