Just saw Dominique Browning give a talk and reading at The Manor in West Orange. The event is part of MKA’s week-long book fair extravaganza run by Scholastic. Tonight’s event was especially cool because the tickets were donated to the teachers by the parents. So, we were all able to go and soak in the atmosphere of this beautiful place while dining on scrumptious appetizers and main course and a delectable apple dessert.
Dominique lost her job. She seems part of a rather big trend out there. A successful journalist (or other profession) who has lost her job–in this case due to the demise of the magazine market–and as a result sits down to write a book about the bad thing that happened to her. And yes–it is comforting to read these books. But, I am struck how these books are a bit light on content. And big on packaging and catchy new philosophies of life easily said in two or three words like, Browning’s “Slow Love” concept. She was funny tonight. I did enjoy her. In fact, I liked listening to her. She has a great sense of humor and a cool reading voice. I was just struck, is all. Just struck by our current publishing world. By the facebook and twitter and blogging and book tours authors go through while striving to get their word out. As I listened to Browning speak and thought about all she was doing to make her new book a bestseller in this new publishing climate, I thought of Laura Munson a lot. I am Laura Munson’s friend on facebook, and I read her blog These Here Hills sporadically. And, I am somehow hyper aware of the efforts Munson has to make to “sell” herself beyond merely the one great book she wrote. Which is, by the way, a great book. That everyone should go and read. Immediately. It’s called “This is not the Story you Think it is”.) I think HER book is higher on substance than Browning’s new “Slow Love” book. By a longshot. Perhaps because Munson wrote it NOT as an established writer, but as a writer who was yet to have a book published.
But back to Dominique.
At the end of the night, I went up to have my newly bought copy of her book signed by her. I was conscious of what I might say to her when it came time to stand over her while she signed. The other women in line had been laughing with her and telling her about their gardens (she likes to garden) and about their houses (she likes houses). Listening to their chatty laughter, felt like they were all part of a very elite home and garden club. And, when I got up there, I just handed her my book and stood silently while she signed. When she was done, she looked up, handing the book to me. “Thank you so much!” I said. “You’re welcome!” she replied.
And I thought that if anything, I had just given her her one “slow love” moment of the evening.