I heard that magical line for the first time in Buenos Aires, and then in Cartagena, Medellin, Oakland and once again last night in Sebastopol in the living room salon organized by my childhood friend, Kristy. I’ve been reading The Bachelor Chapters to small groups in both public and private spaces and my take away after each event is consistent:
I am encouraged.
My audiences have included local college students in Buenos Aires and Medellin; international ex-pats that have landed in Cartagena; high school teachers from the East Bay; and the mélange of disparate individuals who inhabit the California landscapes of wine country.
These future readers are both men and women; they range in age from twenty-something’s to sixty-something’s: many are strangers to me, while others are close friends. In the public readings, I’ve been thrilled by the response from the folks unknown to me—the people who cross the room to express their enthusiasm for the story from the unheard of author who comments unabashedly about the power of a woman’s pussy. “I want to read your book,” they tell me, before describing the specific passage or over-arching theme that snagged their attention and makes them want more.
The private readings are always followed by a group conversation, where the informal scene has been charged by the performance of a story spoken out loud. I have presented enough times now to start tracking responses: “universal,” “authentic,” “comic,” “sexy,” and “succinct,” have been repeated again and again. This encourages me about the future success of the title, and it also affirms my craft as a writer. With guidance from Stacey Donovan, my editor, I learned how to shape the ambition of the original manuscript into a ubiquitous story that would seize the reader’s attention by virtue of its familiar quest.
As a memoir, the book extracts scenes from my life; but what makes it worth reading is the discovery that this tale reweaves another narrative of our humanity. Infused with commentary about sex, love, adultery, men, women, race, gay identity, body image, and aging, at the end of the day, The Bachelor Chapters is both a coming of age story, and a coming to grips story. It’s about us, and I can’t wait for you to read it. Vicki Marie at the Loring Cafe in Oakland