Odd, isn’t it, how circular life can be.
In the past few weeks, two separate events have brought my current writerly life around to distant memories.
Surprisingly (to me, at least), the Paradies Shops Bookstore at the Dayton International Airport is an active supporter of local authors. Twice now I’ve been invited to hold signings at their location in the center concourse just inside security, at the crossroads between Gates A and B. What an odd audience! I learned quickly not to speak to the traveler rushing from one gate concourse to the next – planes wait for no man or woman! But others were more interested in stopping at my table with the stack of FORTY & OUT and a “Meet the Author” sign. (“Are you the author?” was a question I heard more than once, but I politely avoided pointing to my sign.)
That bookstore (or its companion at one of the many other airports they service) is where I bought a book many years ago (sometime since its 2005 release date). On Bullshit, by Princeton Philosophy Professor Emeritus Harry G. Frankfurt, is an elegant little volume, no more than an essay really. I use it for my college writing students as a fine example of how to open a book:
“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this.”
Startling fact, maybe a bit of irony. But compelling, nonetheless. I’ve read this book and its companion volume On Truth several times. And it never fails to elicit a laugh from my students.
Which of those travelers who stop to peruse FORTY & OUT might carry my work along with them for years to come?
In a more personal context, I was invited by the Worthy Matron (president, chair) of my mother’s Eastern Star chapter to talk about my writing career at their Honors Banquet where 50-plus-year members were recognized. I found myself standing in front of several women – not the least of which was Mom – who had served as mentors and role models for me when I was an awkward teenager in the Rainbow Girls (a precursor to Eastern Stars). They were listening to me the way I used to (I hope!) listen to them.
Disconcerting, yes; but gratifying in some ways. Maybe I had fulfilled their expectations of me.
And I hope that’s not bullshit.