A Moment of Jen
THE NEXT BEST THING — In Stores July 3rd!

Sunday, April 22, 2007
posted by Jen at 4/22/2007 08:39:00 PM

Today’s event -- I was moderator on a memoir panel at the first annual Philadelphia Festival of Books -- went really well, with one tiny glitch.

First, I was so nervous about introducing Elizabeth Gilbert, Julie Powell and Darcey Steinke that I neglected to introduce myself.

Yep. Totally forgot. Just walked up to the podium and started blah blah blah-ing about renovations at the library and the stellar assembly of talent, which I’m sure led many audience members to say, “Who is this lady?”

Ah well. I was kind of nervous after careful reading of the books’ acknowledgements revealed that all of the authors know each other, and I was worried they’d do that fancy-schmancy-New-York-writer-snooty-gang-up, but the three of them could not have been nicer, more friendly or more forthcoming about their books, their blogs, the charge of narcissism leveled at anyone who thinks her own life might make interesting reading (Julie Powell, whose blog became an actual blog-to-book success story, sort of shrugged and said, “yeah, I like writing about myself, and I don’t care what people think about me.”)

All of them were eloquent about the question of what led them to writing their memoirs – Elizabeth Gilbert gave a version of an answer I give, too, about how the material chooses the writer instead of it being the other way around. All of them had interesting things to say about what it’s like to write about real people, who may possibly read what you have to say about them. And then hire lawyers.

We talked about blogs, and what it’s like to have your mother read yours. We talked about kids, and what it’s like when they read your books, or show up as characters in them.

But the hands-down best moment of the afternoon came when….


…a sharp-eyed audience member raised her hand and said, “Elizabeth, you’re wearing a wedding band!”

Turns out that Elizabeth married Felipe, the Brazilian man she met at the end of EAT PRAY LOVE three weeks ago! Which means she was kind of on her honeymoon right there in the auditorium with us!

The entire audience oohed and ahhed and clapped like water-park seal.

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the beautiful weather, and maybe get a look at what’s in store for the Central Library, which is going to be going through renovations that will give Center City a world-class library (click here and scroll down to see some pictures of what a renovated library will look like).

I joined the board of the library last year, as part of a new initiative to use my powers for good instead of evil (and also because, let’s be honest, with the kid in preschool three mornings a week I have got all kinds of free time), and it’s been exciting to be a part of the process, and a part of events like today’s.
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