The festivities are gearing up for next Saturday when I “launch” Baby Duck. I went to the Narrow Gauge Book Co-op in Alamosa on Wednesday to find out how the launch will work. There will be a big table dedicated to Baby Duck in the front of the store. There will be a separate table for the monitor and slide show, and room for refreshments. I got several boxes of “mochi” which is the Japanese word for a common Chinese (and Japanese) treat — soft rice flour cookies filled with something. I got lucky and found assortments that included some filled with lychee. The others are red-bean paste, peanut, taro (all common Chinese fillings) and green tea (more along the Japanese flavor preferences). They were made in Taiwan. The store will provide non-tea drinks and something else. Friends are making cookies.
The bookstore has done great PR for me. My only wish is that their communication was better. I didn’t know they would do flyers. I didn’t know they’d do a press release. I didn’t know they’d try to schedule an appearance for me at the radio station (yes, I live in a place with A radio station). I didn’t know they’d provide refreshments. A little handout with “We do this, you do this,” would be helpful.
I’ll do two short readings, and I’ve discovered that for my readings to make sense, I will need to give brief introductory talks, too. As I used to say to my writing students, “Your readers don’t live in your head.”
My audience will need context since the chapters in the book are mostly self-contained stories. As I thought about context, I thought about maps. “Maybe other people don’t have a live action map of China in their mind at all times,” I thought, “Maybe they aren’t re-visiting all the roads from South China Teachers University into Guangzhou, either.”
Hard to imagine, but very likely true.
I tried to figure out the best way to share THAT information, thinking first of handouts then thought, “No, Sweet Cheeks, you just need a poster. Put your maps on it and some pictures, the Mao buttons, something static and clear.”
Thanks to my student days, posters are intimidating, AND I know that I will over-prepare because I always do AND that’s even more likely now that I’m still house-bound with the sprained foot, though it is beginning to really get better.
Day before yesterday I got a call from a young reporter on the local paper. She wanted to interview me. The interview was — well, hopefully, informative and a good article will come from it — but for me the best part was the reporter. Clearly a young woman, and as we talked, I learned it was her first job.
There’s a little piece of me that will ALWAYS be a teacher, that will ALWAYS be in love with the future and its inhabitants. Ultimately, the interview might have been more about her than me. She asked me what prompted me to go to China and I told her the truth, that I was almost sick with wanderlust and I just wanted to get out into the world. Her response? “Oh wow. That is just SO COOL.”
Maybe she got the little message hidden in there. ❤
Anyway, I have to go do a poster now…