This winter, two of the mudroom’s windows began to pucker. They are now slightly concave, with gaps between the glass and wall. And I’ve been very anxious about the books, as the wind blows through cracks and the room is colder than ever before.
The books on the “M-P” shelves are in the worst shape, even though they are farthest away from the windows. And so I put on a jacket and did a rescue mission–bringing in as many books as possible.
The weather has determined which books I must weed.
THE MEANING OF AUTOGRAPHS. When a boy wrote “The Long and Winding Road” lyrics in my yearbook, I thought him very sweet. But after that I never cared for autographs.
The last autograph I got was in the ’90s. I waited in a long line to get a book signed by the Southern novelist Kaye Gibbons, who seemed overwhelmed after giving a witty lecture (like stand-up comedy!) to a packed auditorium. Gibbons joked, “I need to get my Lithium adjusted,” and people laughed, but I did not think she was joking. The person ahead of me in line asked her to copy a long inscription and she was obviously exhausted. I settled for a signature, because I do not care much about signed books anyway, and was only in line because my friends were there.
I was happy to find in the mudroom a signed copy of award-winning Carol Shields’s Larry’s Party. That was a memorable small reading: she was relaxed and chatty, wore an elegant scarf with a stylish blouse and nice slacks, and seemed like the perfect person to hang out at a coffeehouse with. Everybody was shy at the Q&A, so those of us who did PR got things started. I love Shields’ writing. She won the Pulitzer Prize, the Governor General’s Award, the Orange Prize, and many more.