Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dorothy and Celine

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 . . .

Oh well. 

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


Paul D. Marks said...

Catriona, love the DLS stories. And congratulations on becoming SinC prez. Looks like half (okay I'm exaggerating a little) the board is made up of Criminal Minds bloggers too. Congratulations to everyone.

Robin Spano said...

OMG You are so awesome. Right down to your roots (follicular and social). I think your story embodies how every writer feels when we're with a bunch of people who value propriety highly.

Meredith Cole said...

What a great photo of you, Catriona! I love your sense of humor about the whole DLS event... I wish I could have been there to cheer!

Lori Rader-Day said...

"highly visible roots (follicular and social)" I love you.

Janet Rudolph said...

Love the DLS Society comments...I know the group.. but I bet you were a breath of fresh air!

Art Taylor said...

Congratulations again on your new position with Sisters in Crime! Was glad to be at the breakfast to see you step into the new role. (And sorry to say, but I enjoyed hearing the story about your DLS experience too—you write about it really well, even if it was painful to remember!)

RJ Harlick said...

Catriona, it sounds like you probably gave those DLS types what they needed, a good dose of reality. And my offer my congratulations too on your taking over the helm of SINC.

Susan C Shea said...

Oh, I don't know. I bet they loved you. I'll also bet they're still talking about you. "Remember that crazy Scottish woman with the dark roots and the dress that was so short she had to wear tights under it...?" Leave 'em laughing, I say!

Jess Lourey said...


Britni Patterson said...

I honestly think that the same Dorothy Sayers, whose Peter Wimsey found Harriet Vane's talent for speaking devastating truth, and whose Miss Meteyard told a blackmailing weasel to publish and be damned, would appreciate your candor.

I love her writing with the fiery passion saved for idolatry and hero worship, too.

Congratulations on becoming our new Prez!