May 6, 2018

Boston. Spring, 1997

Jeanette Winterson is one of my favorite writers. She almost never comes to the United States, and so when I learned that she was actually planning a visit to Boston, I took the day off from work and attended her morning book signing at Glad Day Bookstore and her evening reading (performance actually) at the Barnes & Noble in Kenmore Square. Her background as a young evangelist was clearly a plus as she worked the overflow crowd, leaping from the podium, working the aisles. It was a madhouse, and I was glad I got to B&N two hours early in order to get a good seat; hundreds were turned away. Not so at her signing earlier at Glad Day when I was the only one with books for her to autograph. (She’s famous for not reading reviews, but I sheepishly gave her a copy of my review of her Art & Lies from the Boston Globe, which she politely put into her pocket.) She wondered if I’d like her to inscribe “To Sandy” on each of the six or seven of her books I’d brought along. “I don’t at all mind doing it. I only ask,” she said, “because some people just prefer the author’s signature. It makes them easier to sell.” To sell? I would never sell these sacred texts and told her as much. When she saw I was missing her essay collection, Art Objects, she found it on the store’s shelves, inscribed it “To Sandy,” handed it to me and said, “Buy this. You’ll like it.” Yes, ma’am.

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