Another gray morning, another day of sleeping in until 9:00 a.m. This morning, though, there was a road crew doing repairs on Indiana Avenue right outside my window, which meant I was periodically awakened for a couple of hours before I climbed out of the cot. I’m sure the ladies and gents tearing up the road were wondering why there was a person napping in the Vonnegut Library’s front display.
I received a visit from my art director, Jenifer Saulovic, and my special projects editor, Sarah Hann, today. They came down to work with me in the window to finalize covers for the Nov/Dec issues of Turtle and Jack and Jill. (As an aside, both magazines will be available at Barnes & Noble in mid November, marking the first time ever that those titles have been on the newsstand! We’re really excited about that, so please pick up a copy when you see them!)
In between working on the mags, I met even more cool visitors to the library. One woman came in and told me that she knew absolutely nothing about Kurt Vonnegut, but that she just wanted to come in and thank me for raising awareness of book banning. That made my day. In the afternoon, Jim Poyser from NUVO stopped in to chat about life, book banning, clean energy, and the end of the world. He also took some photos. By the end of our conversation, Jim had convinced me to go to IPL’s website and request the Green Power option. You can do the same here. Finally, two more students from Ms. Vanlandingham’s English class, Olivia Rusk and Katie Getman, came by to chat. We had a good time discussing censorship and taking dorky photos.
As an aside, I just want to express again how amazed and grateful I am for the level of support I’ve been getting this week. When you agree to do something kind of out of the ordinary like this, you never know how it will go over. The worst thing would have been if this stunt had been met with apathy, shrugged off as the wasted effort of some crazy dude. Instead, people seem genuinely interested and engaged by Banned Books Week, which pleases me to no end. Thanks, everybody!
As for the evening’s entertainment, bestselling YA author Sarah Ockler Skyped in to an appreciative crowd to read from her own novel, Twenty Boy Summer, which was banned at the same Missouri high school and at the same time as Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Along with reading from her book, Sarah took the time to discuss how she felt about having her work branded as inappropriate for its intended audience. Although Dan Wakefield jokingly expressed envy for authors with banned books when he read Sunday night (because his own controversial novel, Going All the Way, has never been banned), Sarah assured us that she took no pleasure in the banning. In fact, the action by Republic’s high school really seemed to have hurt and saddened her. She also talked about the reception she received from the people of the town when she visited its public library to read from Twenty Boy Summer—which was overwhelmingly positive! In fact, the man who had led the charge to ban her book from the school didn’t even have the guts to show up and discuss the matter. Typical.
After Sarah’s talk, Alex Mattingly, manager of Indy Reads Books on Mass Ave. (and a very talented writer in his own right, I might add), stepped up to read the ending of The Grapes of Wrath. I must admit that I have never read The Grapes of Wrath (oh, the shame!), but Alex’s lively interpretation of the text certainly makes me want to! His Okie accent was quite good.
I haven’t gotten any work done on my promised short story today, and I doubt I’ll make any progress tonight either because the first presidential debate starts at 9:00. I can’t miss that….
P.S. The web cam still isn’t up. I guess I’m writing that off at this point. Again, I apologize. Sincerely. If the thing’s up and running tomorrow some time, I’ll just be pleasantly surprised.