Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm Looking Through You

Today our English grad association brought a bigwig to campus. I and three other grad students have been planning for this visit for months. I have been stressing and worrying and freaking out for the last week or so.

Our distinguished visiting author was Jennifer Finney Boylan. You might remember her from my earlier plea to you all to read her two memoirs.

You can find more stuffs about the author and her books (memoirs, novels, short story collections, etc.) and her blog at I highly recommend you jump over there.

I loved having Jenny Boylan on campus today. We had a memoir-writing talk, a pizza lunch, and a reading of new stuff. It was all great. Jenny Boylan is friendly, funny, and extremely knowledgeable.

Oddly enough, my favorite part of the day was a little phrase that no one else might have noticed.

We were sitting in the English department lounge around 10am and Boylan was talking about... something. And then - mid-sentence - she said, "Now that the secondhand has passed the twelve, I'll start my talk. You'll notice no difference between what I've been doing and that talk."

One of Boylan's big themes is that being true to one's self is the best way to live in the world, even if living one's truth is really quite hard to do. I found her quick comment reflective of that focus. The comment made me smile at the time and it has kept me thinking all day.

I'm still thinking.

P.S. - I don't care for long-lined booksignings, but I do love having meaningful books signed by the authors in slightly personalized ways. Perhaps one day I'll show you my David Bevington book... Anyway, today Boylan totally eclipsed Bevington. Just try and tell me that isn't the cutest signing you've seen. Ever.


kmari03 said...

You've forsaken Bevington??

jess said...

that's a great book signing.
you might want to watch your incoming mail for another book to come soon that might also be signed :)))))

The Empress said...

And I never did get around to reading her books. Now I'm sad because that means I can't appreciate this post as much as I could. But maybe I can rectify that situation soon.

And I'm jealous of your adorably signed book. I do not have any such signed books - adorable or not.

Evan said...

I did notice that little comment of hers. I was, though, hanging on her every word, so I can't speak to other people's experiences.

My favorite thing about her? Her attempts at accents. Her Maine accent sounds exactly like Sean Connery. I'm guessing that has something to do with her time in the UK.

Evan said...

Oh, yeah, and the singing and whistling.

Amanda said...

Evan: The accents were so much fun! You have to admit that a lot of the others were dead on. Like Sparkbolt and the Jerry Lewis-esque ventriloquist dummy. Also Forrest Gump. :) The singing was amazing.

kmari03: I wouldn't say I've forsaken him... but Shakespeare criticism can't really hold a candle to Boylan's deeply personal work. I will always love DB.

jess: OMG. I'm trying not to connect this message with an earlier text message you sent, but it's so hard! (Also... you have something in transit too. Not signed... I don't think...)

Empress: Rectify it! Rectify it now!

jess said...

ok yea... you might want to take it just a little bit easy there partner.

all will be revealed in due time.