The worst book-related event ever?
It might be the time I was invited to give the address at the Dorothy L Sayers Society's annual meeting. Everything went wrong.
I left behind the phone number of the woman picking me up at the airport and had no way to get in touch with her. This resulted in her wasting about an hour searching for me when she had a million other things to do.
Then I got lost when I went to pick up the books I had sent ahead. Another hour of very busy people worrying about where I was and whether I'd ever come back.
So there was only time for us to go to the nearest chain pub for lunch. The huge screen tellys showing football and the screaming babies and cackling teenage mums were my fault too.
And on top of that I was just . . . not what they were expecting. Dandy Gilver is posh and conservative and a very DLS Soc kind of gal. I'm incredibly not. I stood up in an unserious dress and upsetting footwear, with my highly visible roots (follicular and social), and I committed all kinds of faux pas - talking about Dorothy's son (the DLS Soc doesn't talk about Dorothy's son), talking about Dorothy's anti-Semitism (guess whether that comes up much), not talking about Dorothy's theology and religious writings . . .
I might not have been to finishing school but at least I had the manners to leave the after-party early so they could all get into what a let-down I'd been. Meantime, I spent a sick-making night in the most tobacco-drenched hotel room ever. Paris included.
I still love Dorothy.
And as for the best book-related event? I'm humbled and amazed by having so many to choose from. But the moment that's standing out in my memory right now is the Sisters in Crime breakfast at Bouchercon, Long Beach, when I took over the presidency and was handed the official seal.
|photo by Molly Weston|