Friday, October 12, 2007

Another day, another reading

Last night, I read for a home town audience at Food For Thought Books in Amherst. It was a good evening. The place was filled and the audience was lively, despite tremendous downpours and even some lightning outside.

The audience is mostly anonymous at the out-of –town gigs, but last night’s crowd was full of familiar faces. I was particularly excited to see many of the characters in the book. With all the excitement, it’s good to get some reassurance that they are still real people, and not just words on the pages . . .I’ll list a few here . . .

Bob Jeffway, my co-conspirator from Milton Bradley, arrived with his wife Celeste.
My therapist friend TR was there with his mate Laurel
My mother arrived with her friends John and Susan
Paul Zahradnik, who appears in the Winning at Basketball story, arrived with his mate.
John Fuller, the technician who got me started in electronics almost 40 years ago, arrived.

There were also people from the past . . . two girls from my fourth grade class in Hadley came to the reading, with a class photo of all of us. Remarkable. I hope they send me a copy.

Mister Spock – whom I cite as an example of a functional successful Aspergian – did not come, but his photo representative did. I was surprised and entertained by that.

And there were people from the blog world too. ThisMom was there, in the second row, near The Muse, whom no one has successfully photographed despite Stephen’s wishes. There may have been others lurking in the crowd, undetected.

Food for Thought is a worker owned collective (only in Amherst . . . ) Retired member Joan Barberich came back last night just to host me. She read a wonderful introduction, and I was thrilled to see her and all the other Food for Thoughters.

It was another long night, ending at 11. Luckily, this date was only three miles from home.

Next week, I’ll be at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset, and Elms College in Chicopee. I hope to see more of you there.

* * *

And lastly, some news from Down Under. My Australian publisher says Look Me in the Eye sold 23% more copies this week, and it's holding the #1 slot in non-fiction while moving from #10 to #7 overall. Go book!

And across the Atlantic, Crown has sold Italian publication rights. Stay tuned for more on the Italian edition of Look Me in the Eye.

* * *

And finally, for those of you who are in a quiet area, with just a computer for company, here's an interview I did last week with Diane Rehm at Public Radio in Washington DC . . . http://wamu.org/programs/dr/07/10/02.php

17 comments:

kyra said...

It was a wonderful reading, John! I love the introduction (which made me cry) and your story, told with such ease and humor, and of course, the readings from the book. Your witing is so clear and powerful. I wish I could have stayed until the loooooong line of those buying books had their chance to meet you face to face and get your signature so I could have gushed some more.

It was also fantastic for me to meet TR and Laurel. Such a lovely couple!

As to Autralia and Italy--WOOT! and Write on!

The Anti-Wife said...

Woof!

When are you coming to the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

ORION said...

Hey John! Make sure you schedule in the Maui Writers retreat and conference next year.
Holly and I will be there.
And mg Tarquini.
And?
We can all have good fun.

Piglet said...

i've heard that one before, "only in amherst..." so true.

cannot wait for your tour to make it's way down south, it's plenty of time for me to learn how to cook without burning it :)

Jimmyzmom said...

I hope you can visit more of the midwest. My son (8, Asperger's) is reading your book after seeing me reading it...I must say I wish it were rated PG, but he is intrigued to read about someone with a similar perspective, especially now that you can reflect on what you've experienced. Life has been so frustrating for us all, but we have our own little victories we celebrate. Thank you for writing your book and giving us something to contemplate for the future...and some really good laughs, too.

John Elder Robison said...

Jimmysmom, I thought my book WAS PG rated. There's no sex or gratuitous violence. What did you see?

And I hope to return to the midwest also, perhaps on the tour for the paperback release

AspieMom_99 said...

I just want to say thank you! My son had Aspergers. I bought the book yesterday and I am watching the movie from your brothers book. I do not want to "cure" my son just understand him is all! Your book is a great help. If you are ever at a book signing in California I will be there!
Hugs,
Barbara & Anthony

AspieMom_99 said...

Sorry I meant HAS My lovely angel was talking to me! I meant to say my dad I think had it!
Hugs Again

annoying little twerp said...

Mr. Robinson,
I just finished reading a review of "Look Me in the Eye" in the Chicago Tribune book section.
My birthday's next week and I've added it to my wish list.
You see, I'm a soon-to-be 37 y. o. woman who was diagnosed with "L.D." at 4 and Aspie at 33.

Until I hit my thirties my eye contact was so bad people thought I was either rude, blind, or both.
Finding out I was Aspie was a relief.
I had been called retarded etc over years-and I knew I wasn't.
Finally I knew what I was.

To this day I'll take a "sorry but..." attitude when hearing that someone is in the hospital etc, but cry a river over the bunny that got hit by the car.
Since my father-in-law has cancer this has caused problems.
I could go on and on.
My father was probably an Aspie, my son from my first marriage is probably one too-as is my husband.
Though it's nice knowing I'm "one of many" it doesn't change the fact that I'm young for my age.
Society expects those in their late thirties to be a certain type-and I'm not.
It still hurts-a little.

John Elder Robison said...

Annoying Little Twerp, it sounds like we've had some of the same experiences. And Aspergianism runs in my family too.

I never use the word Aspie myself because it makes me think of a poisonous snake, and I don't see myself that way at all.

saussie said...

I'm just 1 that goes towards making up that 23% increase in Australia.

Thank you for your book, John. I found it most interesting, enlightening and funny.

I had been looking around for book recommendations that would explain to me, in some part, how the mind of a person with an ASD works, as much for myself as for my son.

My eldest son was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 4. At the time, the psychologist said that as he gets older, he may fit an Asperger's diagnosis. He is now 8 and a half and she was right. I'm fairly sure he gets it from me, although the psych told me straight out I wasn't autistic – maybe she got that one wrong. Many of his traits, I see in myself, although I've learned to deal with some of the issues, especially in more recent years. I'm in my late 40s now.

We've kept our son's diagnosis very close and on a "need to know" basis. He is not aware of his diagnosis at this stage, but we will need to tackle the subject soon when we think he can handle it, along with responding to the comments, questions and reactions of his peers. It's always been the adults we've been more concerned about.

ASD awareness is improving, but still has a long way to go.

Thanks again!

John Elder Robison said...

Saussie, I'm glad you enjoyed my book. With respect to "getting it from you" . . . many people have some Aspergian traits but not enough to be diagnosed. My own parents were like that. I'm the same way, and my son is less so.

Did you get useful insights from my story?

Landreth said...

I hope you will consider coming to Boston for a reading! I read your book in 2 days, I'm a BIG fan of your brothers books, and like his words on paper, yours touch me in places I have never been touched before. I'm a recovering drug addict that had lots of issues growing up. I fought and fought hard to come out the other end, just like you and your brother. I'm very grateful that you have a voice, and decided to use it!

John Elder Robison said...

Landreth, check my schedule on the right side of the blog for updates. . . I will be at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset this Tuesday, and the Concord Writers Festival at Umass Lowell Nov 2nd. I am setting up a December date, also.

annmcl said...

Hi John,
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your reading at Food for Thought on Thursday! It was a thrill to meet you, too! (I'm the one that Celeste Jeffway introduced you to at the end of the book signing line.) I finally just finished reading your book and I loved it. As the wife of an electrical engineer and the mother of a daughter with Asperger's, I saw so many of their wonderful -- but sometimes exasperating -- traits in your own story. I was especially interested in your habit of coming up with "functional" names for the people (and machines!) in your life. My daughter has always had trouble calling people by their given names. If I ask her a question like "What's your science teacher's name?" for example, she will almost always refuse to answer me. I could never understand why a kid who could memorize the entire school directory could not tell me the name of one of her teachers. Perhaps she also has a similar problem with "non-functional" names! I wonder if this a typical Asperger's trait. I have not come across any other description of this particular trait in any of the reading I have done.
Congratulations on the success of your book. I'm recommending to all of my friends and relatives!
-- Ann McLaughlin from Amherst.

Jimmyzmom said...

John, regarding the PG rating...just the 4-letter word he'd never seen before...I think it might push it over the line at the movies, too...but he'd see it soon enough, and the benefit outweighs the need for an explanation to him!

Jimmyzmom said...

Okay...PG-13 maybe... I shelter my kid and love the book!