Tuesday, April 08, 2008
I just got back from the Arkansas Book Festival where I said the word, “prostitute” in front of Kimberly Willis Holt (National Book Award winner) and 9-year old children and their parents. Enough said.
I didn’t mean to say the word, “prostitute”. It’s not like I was taking notes on my presentation and said, “I should try to work the word, “prostitute,” into this. Especially if there are women and children present.”
It just happened, like when you’re trying to release a little gas and something else comes out. There is no easy way to clean that up. It’s there and you just have to be conscientious of it and try to move around as little as possible. That’s what it felt like when the word, “prostitute” came out of my mouth.
You see what happened was, I was trying to come up with a funny profession. I was explaining to the audience that my father was a farmer. When I first left Louisiana and told people my father’s profession, they usually asked, “A former what?” At first I thought they were making a pun and so I laughed. But then I realized that they thought I had said the word, “former” instead of “farmer”.
I still don’t hear the difference between the two but for some reason when I said my, “father was a farmer” when I was speaking at the Arkansas Book Festival on Saturday, I decided to explain that I was not saying the word, “former.” I thought I could turn it into a little joke and so I said, “He was a farmer like a cattle farmer. Not like a former something. I mean he wasn’t a former prostitute or anything.”
Again, I wasn’t trying to work the word, “prostitute” into my presentation. I was just trying to come up with a funny profession. Only I couldn’t think fast enough and so I said the first thing that came into my mind. And that word was, “prostitute”.
Now, Freud might say I have issues. Others might say I’m an idiot. And some may call me a pervert and dirty birdy. The truth is, I am none of these. I am a victim of watching, “Pretty Woman,” on TBS earlier that morning.
That being said, my trip to Little Rock was awesome. The people are so nice and the city itself is beautiful. And the design of the Clinton Museum is great. If you’re looking for a little driving getaway, I’d say definitely visit Little Rock during the spring. I don’t know what it’s like in the summer, fall or winter. I also stopped off in Hot Springs, which was another cool surprise. (Picture above next to Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.) It used to be a resort town and so there are some beautiful old hotels and baths. I used to go to thermal baths in Switzerland and they’re amazing. It’s just nice to be in water without chlorine or salt and it makes your skin feel great. I didn’t go to the baths in Hot Springs because I didn’t have time but I plan to visit again. I did make the mistake of trying to take a sip from one of the fountains of hot springs. I didn’t realize that the water temperature was 120 degrees and so I scalded my mouth and had big red mark all around my lips for the rest of the afternoon.
While at the festival, I met Kimberly Willis Holt. She’s a young adult writer and won The National Book Award for “When Zachary Beaver Came to Town”. It was so weird because she walked up to me when I was at the buffet line filling my plate up with some mini quiches.
She said, “Excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you. I’m Kimberly. Would you mind signing your book for me?”
I looked down at her name-tag and saw, “Kimberly Willis Holt.”
I had heard her name numerous times before. Every time I walked into a bookstore, the owner handed me one of her books and told me that I should definitely read her books because she’s one of the best writers in all of Louisiana.
When I saw her name tag, I put down my plate of mini quiches and pointed at her and said, “But you’re Kimberly Will Holt.”
She smiled and said, “Yes.”
“Why do you have my book?” I asked her.
She presented it to me and said, “I’d like you to sign it.”
So I pointed at her again and said, “But you’re Kimberly Willis Holt.”
I couldn’t believe I was talking to her and that she wanted me to sign her book. It was surreal like when I went to see The Jacksons on their Victory tour. I couldn’t believe I was hearing the king of pop with my own ears.
But Kimberly is much cooler than M.J. She is the nicest woman in the world and was the highlight of a great weekend. Hope all of you are doing well.