Sunday, February 14, 2010

Go Easy, Robert

Hard to list all the highlights of Seattle University's Book Festival yesterday. I think Robert Fulghum did indeed smack me down in our head-to-head sessions (one woman from my very own church even apologized to me and went to his (!!!)), but I was relieved beyond belief to have 20+ people in the room, only a couple of whom I had begged, with tears in my eyes, to be there. The rest were perfect strangers, and I do mean perfect. God bless them, they all stayed awake during my talk on the historic, fringe-Christian tendency to freak out over cultural elements, from Shakespeare to rap music to violent movies to my own sweet little book. And I was thrilled to see all ages and both genders well-represented.

After the talk and reading I was marched over to an author's table, and who should I find right next to me but my arch-nemesis Robert Fulghum! With a little line of people clutching books to their chests, waiting for him to sign them. Since my one little volume was obscured in the shadows cast by Fulghum's towers of tomes, it took my readers a few minutes to show up, so I listened in on his conversations. And I'm happy to report that he is a gracious and delightful man. He even turned to introduce himself to me.

"Hello, I'm Robert Fulghum, and your name is..?" He pronounced it with a soft G--Fuljum.

"Oh!" I said. "All this time I thought it was 'Ful-gum'." Hard G.

"Well," he answered, probably awed by my sparkling wit. "It's a dumb name."

Then we talked about his struggle with intestinal flu and his new novel coming out and how much easier it is to write fiction than non- and how fantasy novels might be easiest of all. All of which is to say, I was fully won over, and if I'm ever invited back to the Book Festival, I might duck out of my session to go to his.

Thanks once more to all the staff at Seattle U's School of Theology and Ministry for putting on a great event, to Carole for inviting me, and Joan for hosting and introducing!

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