It was a surreal moment. On Sunday afternoon, right after a delightful brunch with my writing buddies who were visiting from Jackson (Mississippi) at Sweet Grass, we walked across the street to visit Burke's Books. I was looking to buy The Orphan Master's Son (a gift for my son who is from South Korea) when I saw, right there on the front counter, a brand new stack of anthologies from the University of Alabama Press:
Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality
I picked up a volume and smelled the pages (I'm very sensual) and ran my fingers over the textured book cover, adorned with beautiful art work by Bethanne Hill.
I opened the cover and read again the front inside flap, including the second sentence of the second paragraph:
"In 'Chiaroscuro: Shimmer and Shadow,' Susan Cushman recounts how a spiritual expatriate from the 'Christ-haunted South' found healing through art and Eastern Orthodoxy."
I hugged the book to my chest and grinned like a kid in a candy store.
And right there, starting on page 39, was my essay, "Chiaroscuro: Shimmer and Shadow."
Okay, I already had a few copies of the book that I ordered from the publishing house, but this made it more real--to see the book in an actual physical bookstore. And how wonderful that my first time to experience this was at the fabulous indie store owned by my friends, Corey and Cheryl Mesler.
One of the bookstore employees waved me over to the "New Nonfiction" shelves and pointed out that the book was also prominently displayed on the top shelf, just above a book by John Updike, and not too far from Joan Didion's memoir, Blue Nights.
I was floating on air for the rest of the afternoon, even after my out-of-town guests left for home. Editors Wendy Reed and Jennifer Horne, and our publicist, Rebecca Minder, are setting up some readings/signings for this spring and summer, so stay tuned. Until then, please buy a copy from your local independent bookseller if you can. (If not, of course you can get it online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.) Here are some of my favorite indies:
Burke's Books (Memphis)
Square Books (Oxford)
Lemuria Books (Jackson, MS)
Turnrow Books (Greenwood, MS)
Page & Palette (Fairhope, AL)
The Hidden Lantern (Rosemary Beach, FL)
Sundog Books (Seaside Beach, FL)
What a rush.
And now to finish that novel!