Mile High Harlot

I knew there would be a crowd, but given the fact that I live 10 minutes from downtown and had books to collect at the library, I didn't arrive at the Tattered Cover until 10 minutes before her talk.

Let me repeat: I knew there would be a crowd, but didn't think it would be like Stephen King or Joan Didion or Cynthia Rowley. Even when Joyce Maynard debuted her tell-all memoir about J.D. Salinger, the crowds were nothing like this. And that book was about sex with one of the great literary figures of the 20th century. Sort of.

At the entrance to the bookstore a huge sign announced Stephanie's appearance and then warned, “No one will be admitted without a ticket.”

We didn't need tickets to see Jon Krakauer. And he climbed Mt. Everest with a bunch of people who died.

Well, there are worse things than being stranded in the Tattered Cover without a “ticket.“ So I marched up the stairs determined to explore the new hardcover fiction and non-fiction should the Harlot's talk be "sold out."

Not to worry, there were plenty of seats, though “plenty” might be overstating it. Maybe 20 chairs sat vacant. But I settled in and surveyed the room. Lots of knitting going down, as one would expect. Lots of knitting on double points (to each his or her own). And deafening conversation, like nothing I've ever experienced at an author appearance before.

Then she entered the room. This was most remarkable: The audience screamed. Like she was Elvis. Or Davey Jones. Or Hillary Clinton. I felt a little odd that I was neither knitting or screaming, but have sat through so many poetry readings, literary gatherings and writerly soirees where the mode of behavior mimics that of the mortuary that to experience ecstatic shrieks in a retail mausoleum for bibliophiles was quite startling.

Maybe the language isn't dead after all.

I won't do Stephanie's humor justice on these pages. If she spins through your city, go see her. She's a brilliant stand-up comedian, so good in fact, one wonders how she'd play on Leno--to civilians.

She's also more comely and younger-looking than she appears in photographs. And she was wearing a rockin' sweater.

Comments (3) -

April 6. 2007 00:46


Thanks so much for your review . . I totally felt like I was sitting right there with you and having the experience.  I would so like to see her in person (and I wouldn't be a screamer either ;) ) but it doesn't look like she's ever been down to Florida . . and isn't coming anytime soon either.  Frown

Leslie |

April 6. 2007 03:43


Sounds like a wonderful time! Too bad I missed it ...

Jenifer |

April 8. 2007 12:19


I think the screaming has to do with how few ways adults have to express joy in our culture. We were there for a fun time. We had one. Knitted (and spun, and crocheted), too.

Deborah Robson |

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