Yesterday (Sunday Sept. 28th) I read the first chapter of Learning to Limbo at an event known as Words Off Paper at Insalata's in San Anselmo. I have done scant few readings but I enjoy it every time, perhaps because I'm so used to standing up in front of a microphone and making objectionable noises: yelling, burping, sniveling, stumbling over alliterations and blowing punchlines, badly imitating Brits, Indians and Mexicans, scaring the little old ladies bussed in from The Tamalpais who've come for the second coming of Emily Dickinson. Imagine the shock. It's a wonder none of them have croaked in their seats.
The only reason I feel compelled to report on such a generally ho-hum experience is because of the truly warm and enthusiastic reception my next novel - or at least the first chapter of my next novel - seemed to get. I was told by the manager after I relinquished the microphone to the next reader that Isabel Allende had stopped in to pick up some food, then stayed throughout my entire bit. Perhaps she was just gloating on the awkward voice of the amateur, or perhaps she had the more common, sexual reaction to my reading - a faint, uncomfortable itching that temporarily glues one to their seat lest they get up and start scratching in public. Isabel didn't leave her phone #. Hmm. Perhaps it really was more of a circus interest. But I also sold a lot of Hack, just not to Isabel.
All the authors were truly pro, from the genre romance of Kate Perry to the beautiful, conversational
Today I also learned that if sales of Hack don't pick up it may soon be out of print, meaning anybody might waltz in, maybe you, and snatch up the rights. Hack needs an audiobook. Maybe the potential publisher of Learning to Limbo will pick up Hack too and make one. But either way, what's needed now is the Hunter Pence treatment for Hack, the old "Yes! Yes! Yes!" I hear the market is ripe in Rapid City.
So I leave you with this thought: the limbo. A dance, yes. But a place as well. A place between heaven and hell, neither here nor there, happy nor sad, loved or unloved, empty or full. A tight spot perhaps, where as time goes on the bar keeps getting lower and lower and lower. How low can you go? Maybe the melody is the message, not the words except some: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack go under limbo stick...limbo lower now...how low can you go?