Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Living Her Life (Reflections from Tuesday's Talk by Beth Kephart)

We came together last night, a collection of people knowing of our connections and yet unknowing the specific path that led each of us there. For some, the path was a church aisle, others a winding road, the long steps toward a dance hall, the fiber optics of cyberspace. Warm coffee and cake broke the ice among many of us strangers. Gathering by the display of books, we struck up conversations.

"How do you know Beth?"

"The dance studio," one would answer. And no other explanation was needed.

I struck up a conversation with an elegantly dressed, silver-haired woman, and together we struggled to figure out why the other seemed so familiar in looks and mannerisms. We provided mini-biographies of our lives ("Do you live around here?" "Not now, but I went to college here on the Main Line ..." "Did you play tennis?") and segued into discussions of the books before us. Yes, I said, House of Dance would be a wonderful choice for a special 11-year old in her life and yes, she said to me, you will love reading Ghosts in the Garden and you must visit Chanticleer sometime. I will do that, I promised.

And then we were treated to a slideshow of photographs, richly detailed and poignant photographs that elicted soft sighs and audible smiles throughout the audience. We heard excerpts from books and insights into their birth, and we asked about the state of publishing today, about the photographs, about the process. We learned more about one another, the passion some of us had for writing, the appreciation others had for those who do it well.

And then one final photo of the evening, taken by the author herself to capture the collection of people, the warmth of our togetherness before heading out into the winter night.

Thank you, Beth, for allowing us to be part of your special evening and, as always, for giving us a glimpse into your world so that we may understand and know ours all the better.


Em said...

That sounds like an amazing talk. I wish I could have been there. Did you ever figure out if you knew the silver-haired woman?

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

It really was a special night, Em, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity (although I admit I felt like a groupie as I asked Beth to sign all 6 of her books that I'd brought with me.) Nope, the woman and I couldn't place each other ...but we know we know one another. I have to think it was from when I lived in that area, either when I was in college or several years later.

Beth Kephart said...

Hey there, B&BM. You are very very sweet to post this post. It was a beautiful night, and I'm so grateful that you made the effort to share it with me.

Christine said...

Hey, I am so glad that you posted this and linked previously to Beth Kephart's blog. A Slant of Sun is one of my all-time favorite books.

And I'm really liking all of the book reviews that you do. Very helpful.

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

Thanks so much, Christine! Nice to see you here. (I really like your blog.) Glad you like the book reviews. They're fun for me to do.