Things not as dead as they look

This is the cemetery behind the library where I read last night in Mobile. Things weren’t dead inside at all. Five hundred people — wait, no, I mean about seventy-five people came and listened to me drone on and on. I signed at least a thousand — well, fifty books or so. Then a few of us went out to dinner. I had the grouper.

I also had some fun yesterday morning. Last week I wrote a short piece about Tim Burton’s upcoming film, Sweeney Todd, for Italian Vanity Fair. I write it in English, but they print it in Italian (how that happens I’ll never know). So I’m at the airport, about to catch my flight to Mobile, and my editor in Italy calls me and wonders if I can draw a couple of pictures for the article, the catch being he needs them in eight hours. I say no, I wish I could but I can’t. I’m not at my desk etc etc I don’t have paints or my fancy pens . . .

But then I think, I’ll give it a try. So this is what I do: I get a piece of white, unlined paper from one of the check-in booths, get a pencil from a bookstore, and from Raleigh to Memphis (where I’m making a connection) I practice:

Then, in Memphis (I have an hour layover) I draw two pictures. I call ahead to Nancy, the wonderful woman who is picking me up in Mobile, and ask her to schedule in a stop at a Kinko’s, so I can scan the drawings. And she does . . . I do. Scan them. Then I send them to my computer, because I need to do a little work on them there . . .

Long story short: it all works out. I send the pictures to Italy in time for the article, which will be on the stands next week!

Yes, I’ve breakfasted with presidents, brunched with queens, and had a light supper with the gray-haired emperor of the Invisible Universe. But this sort of thing is still a lot of fun.

Even if the picture I end up drawing is not that much of anything at all.

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