Sunday, June 08, 2008

Choose Life and Literature, Not Necessarily in That Order!


Pre-Warning-this is a very-detailed and rambling post. Some of you might not be in the mood for a very-detailed and rambling post. I kindly suggest you do not read it then. If you choose to do so, and it annoys you, please don't leave me a comment on how very-detailed and rambling it is, especially because this is only PART I on the very-detailed and rambling weekend. Consider yourselves warned.

Let's preface this blog post with this: If you haven't read the previous post, you might want to read it as it tells the beginning of this Swishy-Manic-and-Special-Guests Extravaganza weekend. And before or after you read that one, you might as well stop by the kitchen and grab yourself a cold one, cuz yeah, this is gonna be a long one.

When we last left our friends, Manic Mom was being told by her dotingly, loving and caring husband, that her weekend plans with Swishy were a bit, shall we say, "Aggressive."

To quickly sum up, and as a seque into the blogpost...

Agressive? Maaaaybe.

A weekend full of excitement, adrenaline, conflict, passion, books, authors, angst and Epic burgers? Sure.

Priceless ... Absolutely!

We started off Saturday morning by heading downtown Chicago to the 24th annual Printer's Row Book Fair, and right after we park, I had to pee--there was much peeing on this weekend extravaganza, but fortunately, none involved urinating in a raincoat in the backseat of a car, like my good blogger friend B, who won the Driving Sideways Roadtrip contest earlier last week.

Would you pee in this toilet?

I did. And you know, it was relatively clean, all things considered.

Anyway, almost immediately we came across blog-worthy, photo-taking material (not that the previous photo wasn't nice), which I will share with you now:

See the table? See the sign at the table?


How freaking classic IS THAT??? A booth set up for REAL MEN READING, because we all know real men read, yet, there is not one book on the table, nor one real man near the table, reading. Hmmmm.... very telling.

And then, yeah, I KNEW there would be literary icons at this event, but I HAD NO IDEA we'd run into one of Tukey's and my favorites, so I had to get a photo with George:

Next up, Swish and I went to find the panel with Marisa de los Santos, author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me: A Novel

OK, so I just realized if I post every author and every book by every author we saw or wanted to see, I'm not going to get to the important stuff like going to Wisconsin in search of porn, fireworks, and cheese in the middle of like six tornados, IN BETWEEN stints at Printer's Row, while stumbling into a "Tomato Notification" crisis at McDonald's on the way, so I have decided to footnote at the end all of the authors and books that I will HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you check out!


After seeing Marisa speak very eloquently about her poetic linear process of writing in a beautiful churchlike setting (OK, who am I kidding-it wasn't a 'beautiful churchlike setting' WAS a freaking BEAUTIFUL church), and having the moderator TOTALLY spoil the end of her novel, BELONG TO ME, for anyone who has not read it yet (me), Swish and I ventured back out into the literary streets of Chicago to find ... food? Refuge? Smutty reading material? All of the above?

Nah, we were hungry, but we were also in search of this person ...

Our mystery author who we would be kidnapping for our drive to the land of cheese, porn, and fireworks, (not necessarily in that order!)

Trish Ryan, author of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: A Memoir of Finding Faith, Hope, and Happily Ever After joins your friends Swish and Manic for an exciting, yet sometimes seemingly edge-of-your-seat terrifying trip across the border in a tornado in order to celebrate with their friend Jess Riley on the debut of her book Driving Sideways: A Novel.

Did I remind you that previously, Mr. Manic suggested that our weekend plans were a bit agressive?

We're hungry, and we've got a little time to kill before Stephanie Klein and Jen Lancaster have their throw-down discuss very eloquently, professionally, maturely the trials and tribulations of putting it all out there for the world to see in their memoirs.

There was no snarkiness between the two, no cattiness, just admiration of one author's work for another. From what I have observed, whatever negativity that had passed between the two had stemmed from their fans throwing punches for one another. And since I happen to be a mad fan of both of them, well, I am just happy to have been a witness of the panel because, well, when we got there, ...

well, let me back up and tell you about Epic Burger first, because, even though these two incredible author's memoirs are about struggling with weight loss, well, Swish, Trish and I were freaking HUNGRY! So, we headed here, to Epic Burger, and it was packed, and it was great, but let's say you wanted a burger right now? Well, you probably should have placed your order for it like two days ago, CUZ IT WAS CRAZY BUSY AND IT TOOK LIKE 35 MINUTES for a hamburger.

But that's kind of OK, cuz in the meantime, I took a picture of these hungover guys:

Trish and Manic getting acquainted in real-non-cyber life!

And then, some random guy drops some silverware or something right under Swishy's chair and he looks at me, all scared and asks, "Is it OK if I get that?"

Like I'm Swishy's madam or something? But he was kind of being polite because he was afraid to bend down to reach under Swishy's legs to pick up what he dropped.

So I decide to toy with the guy and I go, "Well, how bad do you want it?" Referring to the dropped object, OF COURSE!

His reply, without missing a beat: "Sit up and beg?"

OMG, HE WANTED TO SIT UP AND BEG for the approval to reach down near Swishy's legs to pick up a dropped object. Yes, she has that effect on men.

We FINALLY get our burgers, which we devour, and here's me taking Such a Pretty Fat to a whole new reading level: (This is me doing my impression of SuperSize, that McDonald's documentary! Yummy FRIES!)

And then we hightail it outta there for the next event, which is the Stephanie Klein/Jen Lancaster panel, which we KNEW would be packed.

Our blogging pal Kristabella meets us up there and explains where the line ends and I'm thinking, "Cool, not too crowded," so we wait and chat for a while, then some assfrig volunteer comes up to inform us that the line actually weaves around the building and THROUGH Indiana and THAT'S where the line ends and it looks like we're probably NOT going to get into the discussion.

Bite me Mutha-Effah.

That's what I think; I don't actually say this. Instead, we stay there, and think, "Oh shit. We are so getting in here. There's NO way we're missing out." So, we pull out our golden ticket, TRISH RYAN, who's got on her trusty AUTHOR badge.

She pulls through for us, heads to the front, and tells us later that she didn't even know what she was gonna say, she just kinda flashed her "creds" and the volunteer waved her through, and then she also tells us later that she had to GET US IN (DUH!!!!) and in doing so, she felt like a reeactment of Sophie's Choice, and who do I choose? Manic or Swish? Swish or Manic? Then she pulled out the greatest ploy EVER and I will FOREVER be indebted to her for this one. She tells us later that she said to the volunteer, "I'm here with my team, can I get my agent and publicist in too?"

So, we sail right in, and yeah, admittedly for about two secondsI felt remorse for those who got stuck outside, and I did share a moment of silence because of this, but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and at this point, we were a TEAM of deviant conspirators off to tackle the world!

As I earlier reported, the panel was great; these two ladies are amazing authors, and it's so cool to know them both personally now. Their writing makes me laugh, they inspire, they cause me to think, to ask questions, to want to write more.

Check out their latest books:
Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass LookBig, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer

Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp

Are you tired yet? Do you need a break? Cuz I kinda do. And we're NOT even halfway done with the weekend! We haven't even gotten to the Wisconsin Road Trip and our journey through the Wizard of Oz tornado yet! I haven't told you about the first-ever SWISHY-MANIC CONFLICT with Trish Ryan as moderator in the backseat as we are driving to our near death on the way home from Jess Riley's debut book party. I haven't told you how we played the "I'm going on a road trip and I'm bringing an AVOCADO with me" game ... there is so much to share, so many more pictures, but I am completely exhausted, and I have confirmed that Swish has completed her journey home so I can rest assured that she is home safe and alive, and I'm assuming Trish Ryan made it back safely home, so for now I am going to bed and will continue with PART II sometime tomorrow ...

PEACE UP! Now, go read something!


Michelle said...

Manic, I am SO going to Printer's Row Bookfair next year. Assuming of course that I remember when it is (there's also a donut bike race in southern IL that I've heard about via a friend that I keep wanting to do and about 6 years in now I have yet to do it because I never remember about it to register in time!). So so jealous of like real intelligent adult time involving adults who read and can talk intelligently about what they read.... *sigh*

cubmommy said...

Sounds like you ladies had a blast. Can't wait to hear how you survived the tornados in Wis.

Monnik said...

oooh. sounds like a blast. and thanks for the teaser. can't wait to hear more...

Moll said...

I would have DIED to have gone to this. I' sure it will be in NYC soon. I am reading both Such a Pretty Fat and Half-Assed right now. Love them!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I am seriously scared of that toilet. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you two ladies had a good time. Both of you crack me up on a regular basis so ,thank you!
I LOVE Stephanie Klein and cannot wait to read Moose,butI'm so broke I have to wait :( BTW Miss Manic YOU are so SKINNY!
Keep it up you look fab!
Love Ya,

B. said...

I loved seeing Trish Ryan on here! I feel like I know her since I read her book. Oh, and thanks for the shout out and glad you didn't have to pee in anything but a toilet!

Andie said...

Looks like so much fun!

I wish they had some of these fun events here so that you guys would have to come down this way!

Kate said...

That sounds like so much fun! I can't wait to hear about the road trip!

Anonymous said...

I think that entry alone can be a best seller book.

kim said...

We were in the same storm!
Saturday we got locked in the mall (had to stay in the same store for over an hour before they let us free).

Then again on Sunday -- did you get caught in the Sunday storm? I got pictures of that one -- check my current post for photos.

Eileen said...

ooooooh I want all the details!!

jezebelsk said...

So jealous of the Curious George pic.

Kristabella said...

Great to see you and be part of yet another Manic-Swishy Authorpolooza!

Can't wait to hear the second part!

Amanda said...

PHEW! That took a big mug of coffee and two ginger nuts!

Looking forward to part II which I will prepare for with tea, wait, make that a POT of tea!

PS Is Swishy about 8 feet tall or are the rest of you really short? She's all bent over in that pic.

Unknown said...

It already sounds like an amazing adventure! I can't believe what an exciting life you lead! I wish I could hang with you guys!

I can't wait to hear the Wisconsin story!

Jess Riley said...

I LOOOVE this!!! We're totally doing printer's row next year.

(You all look gorgeous!!!!!)

Anonymous said...

Wow... what a blast!!! I so wish I lived near you so I could go to Printer's Row Book fair next year!!! Thankfully I will appease my appetite tonight with the book launch event for Moose in my city.

Four in Costa Rica said...

That toilet looks heavenly compared to many I've seen in Mexico and rural Costa Rica. Plus you can probably flush the paper down it. Schweet!!

Hope the weather isn't too insane where you are. I just heard about Lake Delton at the Dells and how it's gone; it's so heartbreaking!


Trish Ryan said...

Obviously, this was the highlight of my spring! And my family--who tease me about having to stop at EVERY bathroom I pass--will all receive links to your blog so they can see the one toilet even I wouldn't use :)

Here's to adventures in the great Midwest!!!