Understand that at this advanced age, it’s hard for any experience to reach the threshold of “seminal.” I mean…by now, I’ve pretty much got a shell that’s about as impervious to penetration as the ones that come on those organic eggs. And by the way…what IS up with those things??? You have to go at them with an awl or a climbing axe just to pry them apart. And, hey? Whatever you think of Ann McMan as a wordsmith—she makes the planet’s BEST deviled eggs. Seriously. I’ll tell you this much: the secret is Greek yogurt. That gloppy, chunky stuff that Dr. Maddie hates. (You also can use it to re-grout tile or seal driveway cracks—but these are tips for another day.)
I digress. Of course. That’s why Jericho, in its original form, was 9,000 pages long. (You should see the stuff that ended up on C.A. Casey’s office floor. For example, there was that whole section that took place in Poughkeepsie…some REALLY hot action between Maddie and a group of Teamsters from Jersey. Why Casey thought this interlude did not advance the central themes of the book is BEYOND me…just sayin’.)
Where was I? Oh. Seminal experiences and Dust.
A few months ago, I was contacted by an English professor at Davidson College (a top-tier, private liberal arts college near Charlotte, NC). She wanted to use my book, Dust, as one of the required reads in her Freshman Writing 101 class, and asked if I’d be willing to come in and meet with her students.
This class focuses on Living and Writing Queer Culture—something I know a little bit about. At least, the “living” part. The rest of the equation I seem to be figuring out as I go along. Although I do still tend to dangle participles with impunity. Maybe that’s a queer thing? Someone should fund a study….
But yesterday, I had the amazing experience of wandering through the rows of textbooks in the Davidson College Bookstore, and stopping dead in my tracks when I saw a stack of my own books on a shelf above a small card that listed Ann McMan‘s Dust as part of the required reading for WRI 101-R.
Wow. Just wow.
I felt like Scarlett O’Hara, when she raised that dirty turnip to the heavens and declared that she’d never be hungry again.
Of course, right after that, I walked on to Summit Coffee for a latte and a scone….
As a postscript, I’ll add that the thing I am proudest about as an author is seeing my books now available through Follett Library Resources—the nation’s number one purveyor of books to public libraries, public schools— and college and university libraries and bookstores. You may not realize that publishers have to be invited to sell books through Follett—and little Bedazzled Ink got the nod from them because they had so many requests from public libraries for copies of Jericho.
That would even make Syd smile.