Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

A nice dad brought his lovely daughter to tonight's event with Brady Udall. To my childless Auntie eye, she appeared to be around my niece's age, maybe six or seven (Hi, Katie honey. You don't read Auntie's blog do you? Kisses!). As Zoe later confirmed, she was seven years old and in the first grade.

Before that, though, during the reading, Zoe laughed uproariously at a passage that involved the words "intestine," "butt," and "confetti." She asked a great question during the Q & A: why did Mr. Udall have four wives in his novel, no more, no less? She was very satisfied with his answer (that four was the maximum number of wives whose children's names he could remember). This was music to my jaded ears -- how many times can you hear questions about process before you stop caring whether a writer writes in his study, on a boat, before breakfast, fully clothed or in the nude, anyway?

After the reading, while her dad discussed Mormon history with our honored guest, Ms. Zoe helped me sticker books, carry books up and down the stairs, and restock the shelved with signed copies. She confided to me that she loved her dress for its ruffles and lavender color and confessed that she worried that her comprehension skills would continue to outstrip her reading ability. ("Well you see, my parents read me Harry Potter, so I already understand it, but I can't read it. When I finally can read Harry Potter, I'll probably like more difficult fiction." Direct quote.) I bet Zoe $7 that, one day, she'd be able to both read and understand in equal measure. She took me up on it.

So Zoe, I doubt you're reading this, but I am grateful for your spontaneous assistance, your eloquence and your ruffly lavender dress. I'm proud to have taught you the word "chartreuse." Trust me when I say you're my favorite audience member, and I encourage you to attend our readings again, and often.

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