Last week a reviewer (actually it was Susan, the editor in my office, which made it nice and easy) for the local city cable TV station interviewed me about my new book of short stories, Sue Ellen Learns to Dance (available on amazon.com--can't resist the pitch). The station kindly gave me a tape of the interview, but being sort of old-fashioned I don't have a VCR, haven't since the kids left home, never did know how to work them. I tried my neighbor--she lost hers in the divorce; I tried my daughter Jordan--theirs isn't hooked up and she doesn't know how to do it; and so it went. I figured I'd never see the show, since I'm too cheap to have cable.
But today I watched it at a friend's house. The first thing Jean said when it began to play was, "That camera put an instant 40 lbs. on you." I blessed her, and then we watched, and I was encouraged because she occasionally laughed out loud. In some ways I wasn't pleased--I not only look heavier on camera, I look older, at least older than I think of myself. And my eyelids droop, not something I notice when I look in the mirror. And I realized that I was shaking my head up and down all the time--Jean pointed out Susan was doing that too. Since I'm to do several more of these for TCU Press this fall, where I'll be doing the interviewing, I'll have to watch that!
But there were things that pleased me--I was able to talk intelligently about the background of a story I wrote in the 1960s. I appeared at ease, sometimes telling funny things about one story or another, orther times waving my hands while I talked but not, thank goodness, jiggling my feet. And I appeared to know western literature--when the interviewer mentioned Joanna Stratton's pioneering work with the diares of western women, I could pick it right up and go on with it. So all in all, the tape made me feel good about myself, which is always a plus. Now the question is, will anybody see it--say at 3:00 a.m.?
I have progress reports: last night, having "happy hour" with Jordan and her sister-in-law, Julie, at my dining table, the blasted hearing aids nearly drove me crazy and I took them out. I could hear those girls fine without them. And we giggled and laughed until 9:30--a long happy hour. But today I tried again and decided I hadn't put the hearing aids in properly last night. Tonight I had dinner with Charles, an old and good friend, at a noisy restaurant, adjusted the setting on my remote control (so sophisticated!) and was aware of the restaurant noise but could still hear him perfectly.
And the mystery--well, it has a title, but I'm not ready to reveal it. And it has a few more words, but I have jotted down several ideas about where it's going. Now, J. A. Jance's advice really does apply: the thing to do is put fingers to the keyboard. And I will do that, though the week ahead looks full, including a luncheon I apparently said I'd host. I called my friend, Margaret, late last night and said, "Did I really say that?" She giggled a lot and said, "You really said that."
It's a great thing that life in semi-retirement isn't dull.