The U of M classroom where I taught professional editing for ten years.
The class of twenty-five had met several times when she stood up one evening and announced, “I just wanted all of you to know that Dee has had a book published and she’s doing signings and readings in the Twin Cities.”
What a buzz and a to-do.
All the students were excited for me and wanted to know how I got published and all the rigmarole I’ve been sharing with you. Their excitement ignited mine. So every week after that I’d begin the class with a ten-minute summary of the latest news about A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. I’d recount what happened at the most recent signings and list for them the ones coming up.
Many of these enthusiastic Dulcy followers came to signings that were close to where they lived in the Twin Cities or the suburbs. Years later I was still running into these students at restaurants and malls. They’d gleefully recall the early winter of 1992. They’d so enjoyed “being in the know” about the publishing process.
Three students at one of the signings.
These signings and readings took place at both chain and independent bookstores. Between October and April 1993, I entered a new world of publicity. None of it daunted me. I was doing this for Dulcy. She’d given me the gift of her book. Now I was giving her the gift of promoting it.
Television and newspaper reporters interviewed me in Stillwater, the Twin Cities, Seattle where I visited at Thanksgiving, and Kansas City when I visited for Christmas. One well-known television personality in Minneapolis interviewed me at my dining room table. The newspaper reporters had me come to their offices and interviewed me there.
I hadn’t worn makeup for many years. However, the television staff of the news and talk shows insisted I’d look “washed-out” without at least lipstick. Remember the friend who’d chanted, “Bor-ing! Bor-ing! Bor-ing!” when I asked for an opinion of the manuscript back in early 1990? She offered to go with me to the television stations and help with the makeup. I felt as awkward in applying lipstick as I had when I’d left the convent twenty-six years before.
Reading for twenty minutes for Minnesota Public Radio was a fascinating experience. Daily, I listened to MPR’s “All Things Considered.” That program and its ebullient reporters informed my life. Now here I was, sitting in a sound studio and listening to my own voice recount the days of my life with Dulcy.
The Arts Program on MPR taped my reading. It would be part of their offerings the next day. Glancing up from Dulcy’s book, I could see the program’s moderator beyond the plate-glass window. Within that studio, I felt Dulcy’s presence all around me. Our life together was touching many others. One more gift among the many she’d already given me.
The next evening, at a signing in St. Paul, a man approached the table where I sat signing Dulcy’s book. He handed me a copy he’d just purchased. While I signed it for him, he told me how much he’d enjoyed listening to me read on MPR. The story I’d chosen to read had captured his attention while he ate his Reuben.
The same signing during the late autumn of 1992.
A cat lover himself, he thanked me for sharing Dulcy’s story. Meeting people like him and hearing his and their pet stories made these signings and readings a true delight for me.
In my next posting I’ll share with you the reason that all this happened back in 1992. I don’t think Dulcy’s book would be met in the same way today. You’ll see what I mean on Saturday.
(Continued on Saturday . . . )
PS: Health news: The infection persists. I started my third round of antibiotics yesterday. Mostly I’m feeling exhausted and so I’m napping, reading, and staring into space!