Monday, April 11, 2011

Fires, memoirs, and a new favorite saying

Authors are always told that the best way of selling books is word-of-mouth. Someone reads your book, likes it, and recommends it and so the network spreads. But it's an elusive thing. Shelf Awareness, a daily online report for booksellers, had a wonderful definition today. Word of mouth is the marriage of enthusiasm and anxiety. I'm adopting that as one of my favorite sayings.
I just read the Facebook page on the Fort Davis fire--heard yesterday from an author there who wanted to let friends and family know that he and his wife and their home are okay but friends on the east side of town lost their homes. There's something mystical/magical about being from that part of the state. The support and offers of donations, from clothes to horse feed, are amazing, as are the inquiries about specific individuals and areas. It's as if everyone in that Fort Davis/Alpine/Marathon triangle knows everyone else. It reinforces my positive feelings about Texas, just when they were having a bit of a hard time in view of the fact that we can now shoot feral hogs from helicopters--what happens when some gun-crazed idiot shoots a person by mistake? And soon we will be able to drive 85 mph on our highways because "Texans have a lot of ground to cover." I rarely admit President Nixon did much good, but he instituted the 55 mph speed limit that saved not only money but lives. Texas will shortly be the state with the highest speed limit in the nation. Such a distinction! And while on the subject of politics, the Facebook Fort Davis fires page says the governor and his office have been noticeably silent and absent from their tragedy.
Memoir class at TCU Human Resources today. In the past this class has been difficult--it's hard to take an hour out of your work day, switch gears and think memoir instead of work. But we had a delightful, hilarious time today. When we prodded the three who presented, stories behind their stories came pouring out. They'd written the surface, and I think they see the difference now. One participant was reluctant to reveal some of the negatives in her family story, but I insisted that if you don't write it all as it happened history will be whitewashed. Not a good thing. We laughed, we joked, we had a good time and yet I think we got serious work done. I came away feeling good about the class. (Oops, I started to write very good--after I just lectured them today about very being a weak intensifier that means nothing!)

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