Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend Wanderings

Getting a little bit out of chronological order, I will back up to last Sunday and give you a book report.

Back in April of 2009 I wrote about attending a book signing in Smithville where I met a favorite author, Susan Wittig Albert, who lives in Bertram and writes the China Bayles mystery series. I happened to catch wind that she was giving another book talk and signing in Elgin last Sunday, coinciding with the release of not one but two books. I so enjoyed hearing her speak before that I looked forward to another chance to hear some of her stories of how she got into the writing profession.

She was just as entertaining the second time around. She is so down to earth and so full of funny stories that I could have spent the afternoon listening to her. I picked up her two new books, plus a writer's guide on how to jump start your writing. Mrs. Albert is one of the founders of the Story Circle Network which encourages women writers and the writer's guide was a product of her work with that group. I figured it might help me get back into the blog habit, which I've been sadly neglecting of late.

Mrs. Albert has quite a following in Central Texas. Just as in Smithville, the room filled up with folks who were very familiar with her books and kept her busy during the question and answer session following her talk. As I was making my book purchase, I was surprised to hear my name called and there in the front row were two of my fellow DRT members. (We had the opportunity at the DRT meeting this past Friday to compare reading notes and it turns out we have very similar tastes in authors. I got a couple of good author leads from one of the ladies.) As I waited for the talk to begin, a stranger behind me struck up a conversation when she observed that I had selected an unusual cookie from the refreshment table. The cookie obviously contained some kind of herb that was most unusual for a cookie and we speculated on what it might be before moving on to a discussion about her former life as a third grade teacher. It was another of those chance encounters that turned out to be a most entertaining diversion. Afterwards I made a point to inquire about those cookies and discovered they were Butter Basil cookies. They were superb and I would love to have the recipe.

Fast forwarding to this weekend, last night I met up with a group of co-workers and friends of co-workers at a local Sports Bar where we had drinks and appetizers before proceeding on to the Bastrop Opera House to watch one of our own perform in a play. With 20-20 hindsight, I should never have had that frozen margarita. It was v-e-r-y strong and my head was a little bit swimmy when we headed to the theater. I think I would have been okay, except for one thing. The play (actually two one-act plays by Eugene Ionesco) was from the Theater of the Absurd. I had never heard of the Theater of the Absurd and it was quite a shock. The dialogue was incredibly difficult to follow, full of disjointed phrases and illogical thought. With a head clouded with too much tequila, it pretty much sounded like Greek by the time it got to my brain.

I managed to stay with the first play pretty well, even if it didn't make sense. Unfortunately our co-worker was a character in the second play. My head kept getting swimmier and although there were brief pockets of humor that came through clearly (and most of them involved our friend's character), I never did really figure out what was going on and I had a devil of a time staying awake. There was no way I was going to be able to go with my friends for a post theater drink, so I said my good-byes and headed home to bed. While I enjoyed the fellowship of the evening, all I can say is that the Theater of the Absurd will have to get along without me. There for awhile I began to understand what senility feels like from the inside. After reading about the two plays on Wikipedia and learning that they aren't supposed to make sense and that they remain very popular in France, I begin to understand why the French are so enamored of Jerry Lewis. They just have an incredibly odd sense of humor. I'm not sure I would have known what was going on if I had been handed a copy of the plays and could have read along with the performance. Oh, well, one must make a point to seek out new experiences. The experience I gained will lead me to run like crazy in the opposite direction the next time I hear the phrase "Theater of the Absurd".

Just not enough French blood flowing in my veins, I guess.


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