We've lived in Chicago since 1999, which is longer than we've lived in any one place as a family. But it's not felt natural to call Chicago "home." I see myself described variously as a "Southwest writer," "a San Diego native," "a writer with deep Colorado ties," "Tucson's own," "a border writer," etc. But I have rarely been described as a Midwestern writer or a Chicago author.
I feel that's all starting to change. This week, I was honored to inaugurate the Chicago Tribune's new Printers Row Live! author series. It was designed to be a conversation between me and Elizabeth Taylor, the Trib's extraordinary literary editor. It was a downtown event at the Trib Tower, they were charging for tickets, it was being held on a Wednesday night, Obama was in town, snow was in the forecast. Our college daughter couldn't even come because this quarter she has a class on Wednesday nights. All the excuses were already lining up. Cindy and I talked all the way into town about how there probably would be a small crowd and how we hoped not to embarrass the Trib.
But when we got there, Elizabeth met us with such warmth. We got a quick tour of the inspiring Tribune Tower (Cindy mourning her old reporter days), everyone was so friendly and happy to see us. They had pre-sold more than 80 tickets. And by the time the event started, there wasn't an empty seat to be had. What a wonderful crowd! Some old friends, some students, a contingent from our beloved Kankakee, including Mayor Green! Elizabeth and I had a great talk, I shared a bit of Queen of America and we had plenty of time to talk with the audience. Signed books for over an hour. For an author, it was a perfect event.
Sweet home Chicago.
So thank you to everyone who came out. Thank you to the Tribune and Elizabeth Taylor for the warm embrace.
And if you missed it, the great thing about doing an event at a media center like the Tribune Tower is there is plenty of coverage! I'm especially happy to post the link to the podcast here. I think it's worth a listen. We have a great conversation, me and Chicago.
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.
A book release party for the home crowd! Help me celebrate my new book of poetry AND my new book of short stories AND my re-released book of essays. Details here.
Lecture and book signing sponsored by the Inter-University Program for Latino Research. Details here.
Excited to visit with the wonderful community of Hood River where they are reading Into the Beautiful North! Details here.
Gonna keynote the fundraiser! Can't wait! Will be a Cinco de Mayo to remember. Details to come.