Joyce Carol Oates @ Mysterious Bookshop
Dawn. I detested dawn. The grass always looked like it’d been out all night. I woke early with an all-percussion symphony playing in my head led by the empty bottle of scotch underneath my bed. Outside, the police sirens joined in with the garbage trucks to form a backup chorus that wouldn’t quit. Only a special dame could rouse these tired clichés from my cold, stiff fingers, and that dame was Joyce Carol Oates.
This wasn’t to be my first rodeo with Mrs. Oates. Almost two years ago, about the time I began this blog, Mrs. Oates was to sign books (no reading) in a back room of The Mysterious Bookshop. Because I couldn’t ask her myself, I approached the ridiculously accommodating Mysterious Bookshop employees about asking Mrs. Oates to insult me. After a quick explanation, they agreed. I was (and still am) incredibly grateful for their willingness to help a fellow book-nut in his pursuits.
I returned later that week, hopes high — they’d already helped me land an insult from a big fish like David Mitchell. And if David Mitchell liked the idea, I figured this insult idea must’ve been the best thing since mixed metaphors. Alack, it was not to be. While she laughed at the request, they later reported, insulting a stranger was something she couldn’t do.
Shocking! An author with novels like Rape: a Love Story was almost demure in real life. Rather than an insult, she drew a nice heart for my inscription, the most cheerful rejection I’d received.