Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Armchair BEA: Living Her Life (A Real-Life Author Event with Beth Kephart)

Shhh.  Don't tell anyone, but I'm not really technically supposed to even be here at Armchair BEA.  You see, while I'm not at the actual, real-life BEA festivities in New York, I will be at the Book Blogger Convention on Friday.  So, I kind of feel like I'm betwixt and between two book blogging worlds this week. Hopefully you don't mind an imposter crashing the Armchair BEA party.  Besides, there's enough room in this armchair for all of us, isn't there?

Anyway, I've seen a few Armchair BEA posts with today's suggested theme/posting prompt about attending book signings and a few people have daydreamed about attending such an author event with Beth Kephart. I was lucky enough to do exactly that in February 2009 when she did a talk at a local library.

In full groupie form, I brought along three of the Beth Kephart books I owned and promptly bought three more right on site at the event.  Patiently, Beth not only signed all six of the books I had, but did so by adding a personal message to each one. (I hung around late enough that I thought Beth and I would be left to turn out the library's lights.)

I thought that I'd re-publish that post for today (particularly since I can't seem to finish the post-in-progress about the most recent signing I attended, that with writer Jonathan Mooney, author of The Short Bus).

Living Her Life (Reflections on Tuesday's Talk by Beth Kephart), originally published on The Betty and Boo Chronicles, February 11, 2009

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.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Florinda said...

I remember this post, but I really hadn't discovered Beth yet at that time - I appreciate it a lot more now. Thanks for sharing it again...and yes, it's a VERY big armchair!

K A B L O O E Y said...

I am embarrassed to admit I haven't read her... yet. What's your recommendation for where I should begin? I have 5 dollars in Borders bucks to burn, too. (Sad that that's my local bookstore in the 'burbs.)

Beth Kephart said...

you nut!!!!!!!!!