Dereliction of literary duty

Not only did I publish zero books this year, thereby contributing nothing to the Virginia literary economy, but I have also been shirking my blogging duties for the Virginia Festival of the Book 2009. “What a punk!” says Michael Dirda. “She should be fired!” says Rita Dove. “I’m going to teach her a lesson!” says John Grisham. “I am totally okay with that!” says Wistar Murray.

Yesterday I finally assembled my “Book Bag” thanks to an ingenious tool on the VFB website that lets you create a personal calendar of book events. I always get a little trigger-happy with the Book Bag and end up cyber-committing to readings that conflict with work, meal-times, my personal taste, and each other. If the Virginia Festival of the Book had a VIP gift lounge like the Sundance Film Festival’s, I would be in there loading up on Ugg boots and snowboard bindings and Mariah Carey CDs just because they were free. But fortunately for my legions of fans, my Book Bag also contains events that I will 100% definitely attend (unless it’s raining or I’m sleepy). I present them here in chronological order:

Business Breakfast: Predictably Irrational with Dan Ariely (At the ungodly hour of 7:30AM! But there will be donuts. And I’m going to wear my only pair of business-style pants, loved by my husband because they give me the appearance of making a salary.)

Doctors Who Write (Dad, you’re my date. Heads-up. I am also expecting dinner and drinks afterward.)

What Are You Driving At? Cars, Culture, and an Impending Crisis (I’m hoping this event’s moderators will focus on fixing my muffler, which is in critical condition.)

Lifting Depression: Have Important Clues Been in Our Hands All Along? (Yes, if you substitute “Prozac” for “Clues” and “My” for “Our” and “Off And On Since 1994” for “All Along.” Then you’d have to go back and change “Have” to “Has” in order to get the verb to agree with the subject. I guess you might as well just start the sentence over.)

The Late-Night Story Slam (This event combines three of my favorite things: drinking, narrative, and heckling. I mean “audience participation.”)

So Many Books. . . The Pleasures of Reading (I’m looking for recommendations to replace Frank Herbert’s Dune, my book club’s latest pick, chosen after five bottles of wine.)

The Oceans (I would be there if I could be in multiple places at once – like the great white shark, my arch nemesis.)

Book Review Superstars (Does the fact that I don’t think the word “superstars” in this context is hyperbole make me a dork?)

Regular and Decaf: One Friend with Schizophrenia, One Friend with Bipolar (I’m not trying to belittle the importance of mental illness education, but where there’s coffee there’s usually pastries.)

Annual Book Fair at the Omni (Last year I was given a lot of promotional items, chiefly candy, and met an author who said that the black race would disappear within 20 years. I was so disturbed by this pronouncement that I spent an hour Googling him and his book – to no avail because after our encounter I’d promptly forgotten his name and the name of his book. I actually don’t think he was invited to the festival or to the Omni; he was just a man with a bizarre idea and a fold-out table.)

Agents Roundtable (It can’t hurt.)

Authors’ Reception (The party to end all parties! Except it only lasts until 8pm.)

Truth, Justice, and the American Way: An Evening with John Grisham and Stephen L. Carter (I will be there unless Grisham’s restraining order goes through.)

Virginia Arts of the Book Center: Open House (I will be there if I haven’t been up all night partying with Grisham and company. My buddy Kristin is moderating. I will try not to heckle her like the story slam people.)

Francois Coty: The Perfume Magnate (I will say “That’s funny because MY perfume is a BOY MAGNET” and we will all cackle in French accents.)

Rome 1960: The Olympics that Changed the World (But only because I’m a huge Jerry West fan. And because I coached the 1960 USA Rollerblading team.)

3 Thoughts on “Dereliction of literary duty

  1. Gee whiz. Rereading this post, I’ve decided it’s a little too funny-ha-ha. So p.s. – I do actually love to read – soberly, reverentially – and I think this year’s festival is going to kick ass.

  2. shenanigans on March 16, 2009 at 10:51 am said:

    I’m trying to figure out how it sounds to “cackle in French accents”…I’m guessing it sounds like the chef in the Little Mermaid? “Hee hee hee, haw haw haw, I love leetle feeshies, don’t you?”

  3. Ah but you heet zee nail on zee head.

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