Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Out and About

I've had a fine time recently talking about The Year of Goodbyes at a variety of events.  The audiences have been wonderfully engaged, which is any speaker's dream.  And a bonus for me has been sharing the podium with other writers who have great stories to tell, and the talent to tell them. 

Last month, for example, Jan Elvin and I did a joint reading at the Fall For The Book Festival in Virginia.  Jan is the author of The Box from Braunau: In Search of my Father’s War.  We hadn't met before the festival.  Jan and I were amazed at the parallels our journeys to publication shared, including most notably the discovery of an artifact of personal history--in my case, my mother's poesiealbum; in her case, a tin box her father brought home from World War II.  In her presentation, as in her book, Jan addressed the demons of war that dogged her father for the rest of his life as a veteran, a subject that is painfully relevant today as we welcome soldiers home from today's wars.  And on a lighter note, Jan and I discovered that we share a passion for all things Eastern Shore--that's Maryland's Eastern Shore, where she and her husband just moved, and where my husband and I spend as much time as we can.  I'm hoping to see her out and about on the Chesapeake Bay.

And last week, at the Brandeis National Committee's Book and Author Luncheon in the Washington, D.C. area, after talking about The Year of Goodbyes with a very warm audience, I was captivated by Lisa McCubbin and Clint Hill when they discussed The Kennedy Detail, the story of the Secret Service agents who were with President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.  What a slide show!  Mr. Hill, the agent assigned to Mrs. Kennedy, was just a fount of fascinating detail and insight.  After lunch, we heard from James Zogby, whose book, Arab Voices:  What They Are Saying To Us, and Why It Matters, was the springboard for his passionate talk about the importance (and difficulty) of listening, really listening, across cultural, religious, and physical boundaries.  When the day was over, I wasn't quite ready to go. . . .

Here's a photo from the Brandeis event; to my right is Mr. Zogby with his book: