I have to say, I have had just about the perfect Chapel Hill afternoon today. First, it was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm. Second, one of my favorite writers, Lee Smith, has a book of new and collected short stories out TODAY called Mrs. Darcy and the Blue Eyed Stranger. And finally, she was reading at one of my favorite bookstores, The Bull’s Head on the UNC Campus, and I got to go. Score!

My friend Dana and I met on Franklin Street in front of the post office, which gave me major nostalgia flashbacks, as it’s the same place where I used to sit after school and drink sugary sweet fruit punch from Hectors and watch the cute punk rockers. But I digress. We walked across campus, which is just SO gorgeous this time of year, passing several groups of prospective students and their tour guides. (Love it! It’s a ritual of spring, if not all year.) Then, at the Bull’s Head, I bought Lee’s book and the new Lionel Shriver (I love her stuff, even if it’s unsettling sometimes) then grabbed really good seats before it got super crowded.

Now, I know I am biased. Lee is my friend, my mentor, and the reason I am published. (I believe that entirely: without her help, I’d still be at the Burrito, with ten books in my closet instead of three or four). She always believed in me when I totally didn’t in myself, even when I was getting rejected left and right by New York agents. “It’s going to be fine,” she’d say, even as I waved another rejection letter that I’d just received in her face. “You’re going to sell a book, and shop at Whole Foods, and be just like me. Don’t worry.” Now, I am NOT just like her. That’s, like, too much to aspire to, much less ask for. But having someone believe in you that way, and support you? It’s invaluable. Plus, she’s, like, the BEST reader ever, just so entertaining. If you are an author who does events, it’s like a master class. If you doubt me, ask Dana, who had never been to see Lee and was blown away. If you’re local, I know she’ll be at Quail Ridge, the Regulator and McIntyre’s in the next few weeks. Do yourself a favor and go. You will not regret it.

I swear, I am such a geek. I waited in her line with my two books to be signed, and my camera, and I have to say it was kind of surreal to be on the other side of the whole reading thing. Dana snapped the pic above, I gushed, and then walked away so excited to start reading the book I wanted to plop down and begin right there. It made me remember how much I used to LOVE to go to book readings, back in college and high school, and how much it inspired me. It still does.

Now, I’m home, where my daughter is running wildly around her room instead of going to sleep, and my dogs are waiting for me to sit down so they can curl around me. There is a results show of Dancing With the Stars to watch, or at least dip in and out of—I saw Shannen Doherty and Kate Gosselin, and thought one was good, the other not so much, but that’s all I’ll say—as well as a ton of other shows to get through. (Edited to add: okay, so no results show for DTWS this week. Can you tell I am not a regular viewer? Whoops!) I love these late light days, but man, they just get away from me. How is it already 8pm? I have no idea…

Oh, but quickly: for those of you who asked, I did not find a good skull and crossbones shirt in NYC for Sasha. This website, though, came through for me: My Baby Rocks. And they are in Utah! Gotta love that.

Okay, enough blogging. Couch time!

Have a great night, everyone!

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