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Author Archive: "Rae Meadows"

C’est Romantique, Non?

Last week I read from my new novel at Books, Inc. in San Francisco.

When I travel for readings, I send out invites to anyone I've ever known in the geographical vicinity — so I usually end up knowing a good percentage of the audience. But this time, sprinkled among the old friends and colleagues, a few notable strangers caught my attention as I read. One guy, stuffed into a shiny, light-blue warm up suit, got up midway through my reading, suddenly realizing himself in the wrong place. But I was especially curious about an older gentleman in a ratty beret and wool coat in the back row. After the reading he waited until people had cleared out, and then approached me, smiling widely.

"You live in Madison?" he asked, in a heavy French accent.

"Yes, I do."

"Do you know Elizabeth Brown?"

"No, I don't think so."

"She is a ballerina."

"Oh, okay. Madison is a pretty small town. And I have an interest in dance. So I'll keep my eye out for her."

"I met her in Alaska in 1951," he said, "I proposed to her in 1952. But ...


You Can Go Home Again for a Book Club

My mom is 75 and church-going, and she told me she learned a lot from reading Calling Out including what a golden shower is. Always a proud moment for a parent. She is also incredibly supportive of me and met me in Cleveland — we moved away in 1983 — for a book club of her old friends and a reading this weekend.

Cleveland and its suburbs make an appearance in my next book so I was curious if my memories of it were close or complete myth. A combination, I think. The city is a little sad and crumbling. And parts of the suburbs are quite beautiful. My mom and I drove around our old town of Pepper Pike and it was heartening in a way to see how much has stayed the same. Miller's is still the drugstore! Lander Road is still brick! For someone who has chosen to move around a lot, I hold on to a fantasy of having a real hometown. I'm always surprised by the contentment of friends I grew up with. They didn't feel the need ...


Cleveland’s a Plum

Thanks for the comments on my earlier post about the Peter Straub and Neil Gaiman panel, especially the one from Peter himself. How cool! (It was nice to meet you, too, Peter, if you're still reading, and I will check out the Conjunctions issue you mentioned.) My poorly worded bit was not meant to suggest that either of them are strictly horror writers, and certainly any categorization is limiting. I'm all for genre cross-pollination, and I'm looking forward to more exposure to what each of these guys is up to.

Last week I read at Cardinal Stritch University, a small Jesuit school in Milwaukee, as part of their fall reading series. I was so pleased to be invited and I think it was the most rewarding reading I've done yet. The audience was mainly undergraduates, eager, interested, and emotive. I didn't start writing until age 26 so I am envious of and happy for those who start early.

One kid asked me what the best book I read this year was. This is always a ...


The Truth about Limburger

I read two blogs regularly: one written by my friend Lynn, a.k.a. Dr. Write, a writer and teacher in Utah, and the other, by the snarky celebrity gossip maven Perez Hilton. I know, I know. But sometimes a hit of crack really kick-starts the day.

I admire bloggers. I'm not confident enough to write so quickly and publicly. I don't write every day or even every week. I write in spurts and then I dwell. I wrote the first draft of my new novel manuscript pretty fast and then I didn't look at it for six months before working on it again. I say this because I have always felt a little anxious when I hear other people talk about writing and their discipline. I can finally admit that bingeing works for me. And even then, I don't enjoy it very much.

Baumgartner's

Last week, as a procrastination maneuver, I drove to Monroe, a small town in southern Wisconsin — home of the mighty Cheesemakers — to meet up with Jim Harris, the owner of the fabulous Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa ...


Freakfest

Halloween in Madison is famous for its debauchery as college kids descend from all over the Midwest. I, thankfully, live on the East Side, away from the drunken hordes of frat boys and scantily clad coeds. I will be sugar-loading the trick-or-treater set before turning off the porch light and watching a Netflick.

Speaking of freakfests, the Wisconsin Book Festival came to a close last Sunday. I admit I am a terrible listener and often zone out during readings, though I do like to make judgments about sincerity, if I would be friends with the person, outfit choice, etc. Here are some festival highlights:

Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, and critic Gary K. Wolfe had a panel discussion about genre fiction or whatever you want to call it. I haven't read any of their books (I haven't read horror since reading Stephen King as a teenager) but it was interesting to hear them talk about the term genre, both defensive and proud, it seemed, and how they view their work. Seeing the crowd was half the fun. Gaiman — ...


Wait Until Spring, Bandini

I just celebrated my one-year anniversary of living in Madison, Wisconsin, after leaving Brooklyn, New York. At the moment I'm watching the squirrels tear across the roof in front of my office — my office! I couldn't say that about our old one-bedroom.

There are things I miss — my favorite sushi restaurant, the pottery studio at Long Island University, friends, style, the pace and hunger — but Madison has been terrific. If you ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant, you are handed the container to do it yourself. The lead story on local news is dependably about the Badgers, either football or hockey. People arrive at movie theaters right at the exact time the movie is supposed to start. There are places like Grampa's Gun Shop. Cheese curds are actually good. And this town has been so nice, encouraging and generous to a transplanted, first-time novelist.

Grampa's Gun Shop

Last week I read at the Wisconsin Book Festival. I felt like a hometown gal. I shared the stage with the Heidi Julavits, novelist ...


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