A Big Nerd

“You’re a big nerd, Dad.”

That is what my daughter told me as we sat in folding chairs and waited for the reading / book signing to begin. But let me explain.

My fourteen-year-old daughter and I had driven from Southern Maryland into Washington, DC, to attend an event featuring Kelly Link and Juan Martinez at the Politics & Prose bookstore. After enjoying a bite to eat in the store’s basement-level cafe, my daughter and I headed upstairs to grab a couple seats for the reading.

While waiting for the event to begin, I took the opportunity to explain the singular they and its increasing acceptance. As any fourteen-year-old might, she then hit me with the abovementioned assessment of my coolness.

And of course she was absolutely correct.

All of that aside, we had a hell of a time at the reading. Nothing makes me more proud than my daughter’s love of books (if not the finer points of grammar), and I took great joy in introducing her to the works of Kelly Link (and being introduced to a new author myself, having been unfamiliar with Juan Martinez before the signing).

A few notes from the evening:

  • Reading from her collection Get in Trouble, Link drew laughs with the line “Florida is California on a Troma budget.” As a fan of low-budget horror, I was glad to see so many people appreciated the reference!
  • When asked about their favorite rules to break, Link answered “show don’t tell,” while Martinez mentioned placing action on the page (employing, for instance, five pages of dialogue to power a story).
  • Link reported to be enjoying work on her novel, and both authors talked about how writing a novel, with more room to spread out, was in many ways easier than working on a short story. Both seemed to agree that the novel’s form is far more forgiving than that of the short story.

All in all, the night in DC (with my daughter, two wonderful authors, and a good crowd at one of my favorite bookstores) was immensely enjoyable.

Even if my daughter thinks I’m a big nerd.


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