aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Going to a book group is bad for one's soul

Last night I did something I don't normally do any more: I went to a book group. The members had all read Circles of Confusion, my first book, and they had asked me very nicely months ago. [Full disclosure: If I hadn't already been booked, I would have been at Willamette Writers chatting up screenwriter Mike Rich. He has a copy of Learning to Fly, and supposedly this producer I know is going to be talking to him about it. Although there is a big space between The Nativity and Learning to Fly.]

There are many reasons going to a book group is bad for my soul. First, it encourages me to monopolize the conversation. Second, the ladies brimmed over with compliments about my writing, my jacket, my sense of humor, my storytelling abilities. They marveled that I worked and had a kid and in general praised me to the skies. It is just strange to be the center of attention. It's like being with your mom times 12. I don't know that it's healthy. On the plus side, I only ate one small handful of nuts and some kind of chocolate truffle. Can't really put it away when you are expected to be talking.

This morning I spoke at a middle school. Three back-to-back-back presentations of 30 minutes each. Each time to a group of 90 kids jammed in the library, where there were chairs for about 20. The rest sat on the floor. As they waited for me, they elbowed each other and laughed. I knew I had better keep right on top of it or I would lose them. It's hard to know what to do when two girls are whispering in the corner. Should you ignore it or give them what my girlfriend calls "the dog eye." I did a little of both. My kid is so easy and I only have one, so I'm kind of unused to having to cajole or threaten.

But I think I did well. I managed to keep them all 99% quiet and attentive. The tone of the three groups was very different. The first group talked among themselves more, but they also laughed more and asked more questions.

My favorite questions from the kids: "How old are you?" and "Are you rich?" Asked by all three groups, I believe.

Authors: do you do many school visits or book groups? Anything interesting you care to share?

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