Monday, May 25, 2009

Me & Jesus: We're EVERYWHERE!

So I went to the Austin Public Library's website to search for a couple of books I want to use for my upcoming writing workshop. They have this marketing campaign -- when you go to the site at the top there's a picture of some library lover with a quote relating to said love. And yes, I'm featured in one of these. I don't always pop up-- it's a rotating cast. But this morning, there I was, the bigger, fatter, longer haired me of 2005, publicly longing for a small room of my own, a little dog, a laptop, and a library card. I've actually got all those things-- more than one little dog even-- so I guess I'm in good shape.

In other news of my astonishing popularity-- I strolled into the Y yesterday and the young woman behind the counter said, "Hello Miss Gillespie," which sort of surprised me. I didn't recognize her. She said she recognized me, that she'd gone to school with Henry, and that recently she saw me quoted in Cosmo. That made me cringe. Months ago a publicist I've worked with said Cosmo had come up with a quote they wanted to attribute to me and would I approve it since this would be good publicity for my book, Pissed Off, which came out years ago and which, while it has generated some really nice mail from folks, will doubtful ever earn royalties. So despite the fact that I had reservations about the quote, which I can't even remember at this point and no way am I buying a Cosmo, I okayed it in a moment of pure idiocy. And already it has come back to haunt me.

On the brighter side, when the same publicist again contacted me and said Cosmo had invented yet another quote they wanted to attribute to me, I told her only for money. A true whore must get paid, no? Not surprisingly, Cosmo balked. I said forget it. I'm going to write about this whole no-more-money-for-writers phenomenon in my column on Thursday. Fuckers.

But let us not get bogged down in bitterness here. On a much more joyful note, I was at Central Market yesterday and this really cheerful young lady ran up to me and said, "I took a class with you!" I always tell my writing students that if I ever run into them at the grocery store please do not be offended if I don't recognize them. My absurd memory, which can recall the names of coworkers from twenty-five years ago and phone numbers for fleeting boyfriends from my twenties, has a serious problem with out-of-context encounters. I feel awful that I can't remember everyone's name, but I seriously meet maybe 500 - 1000 new people every year and I just cannot, cannot retain that sort of mental rolodex. So the young lady told me her name and I asked about her writing-- she's still at it and recently placed in a competition. It was so lovely chatting with her.

But BEST of all... this is just great...I performed a wedding over the weekend. After the ceremony a twentysomething came up to me and said, "I just have to tell you, YOU LOOK EXACTLY LIKE MY MOM!!" Okay, that's weird, right? I mean, her mom? But I had actually had a similar experience at another wedding where the mother of the groom looked so much like my mom (who, in fact, I also look a lot like) that I wanted to hug her. Anyway, so this woman at the more recent wedding looks at me and, hoping to make an even bigger connection between her mother and me-- I should say she showed me a picture and we DO look alike-- asked me a question. Now, of all the questions in the world she could ask me, this is the one she chose: Do you knit?

DO I KNIT?!! Bwahahahaha! Do I ever not knit? I knit at weddings (though I hadn't yet gotten my knitting out at this particular wedding so there was no way this woman could've known) and funerals and in traffic and in the dark at movies. Apparently her mom also knits constantly and offers to teach anyone she meets to knit. Which is also something I do. Just yesterday I was at Mandola's and the young lass working the register noted a sock-in-progress poking out of my bag and asked me about it and said she so wanted to learn. So I gave her my contact info on the spot.


So there you go, me and Jesus, we're everywhere.

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