Back from New York now…and still laughing about my presentation at the Princeton Club. It went just fine. In fact, my audience got so involved that they started arguing with each other about my thesis and I had to wave them down several times and say, “Hey, can I get to my next point here?” It was far more PARTICIPATORY than I had expected. My publicity person at Princeton has promised me that the crowd at the Princeton Public Library will actually let me finish my sentences.

I did have an odd experience at the Princeton Club, though. I mentioned, as part of my presentation, that my husband is the minister of our local church. Afterwards, a whole handful of people came up to me and said, “So your husband’s a minister? That must create some interesting tensions between you. How do you deal with that? What kind of argument do you have with each other? How do you manage to have a life together?”

I answered as well as I could. And then said to the friend who went with me, “Um…did I say anything that suggested I’m not in sympathy with my husband? Anything that implies I don’t agree with him?”

“No,” she said. “It’s just that you have a Ph.D. and a university job and wrote a book for a university press and you’re obviously articulate and smart, so they figure you can’t possibly be in agreement with him.”

And she’s right. It was one of those eye-opening moments where I suddenly got a glimpse of my world through the eyes of someone who doesn’t understand it at all.

The entire day was an exercise in stepping into different worlds, as it happens. I did an in-studio interview on The Gist, hosted by Michelangelo Signorile, a sharp intelligent host who seemed to have READ the BOOK (they don’t always) and had insightful questions for me. Then I had a phone interview with the Washington Post, which also sent a wonderful photographer to do a shoot. She said, “Let’s go find an interesting wall to shoot against.” We ended up standing outside a white-brick garage wall, where she took scores of pictures while saying things like, “Shake your finger like you’re scolding someone! Now hands on your hips, chin up, tilt your head to the right! Let’s try hands in the air! Turn sidewards to me and look thoughtful!” She didn’t ever say, “Work it! Work it!” but otherwise I felt quite model-like. And quite silly, doing this out on the street in the middle of Manhattan. In fact a little circle of people gathered to watch us. My friend, who was entertained by all this, said, “Do you want me to tell them you’re not really a model?” “No,” I said, “we’ll just let them assume.”

The Post interview was long and interesting (the reporter was very well-informed and asked great questions), but seems to have gotten carved down to the absolute minimum. That’s how it goes. Anyway, the photo and abbreviated interview will run in the Post on Sunday and can be seen online right here.

Showing 9 comments
  • Anita

    Haven’t read the book…need to get me a copy. But the Post picture looks very good. You do look like a model…LOL

  • mary kathryn

    This was a fun post, Susan. Your description of a liberal’s incredulity at intelligence married to religion is dismaying. I’m afraid (for them) that they have seriously underestimated their opposition.

    As for that photo. It’s interesting, but I don’t think it looks like you. I hate to say this . . . but it looks like a smooth-faced 16 yo boy! And as I recall, you are an attractive, 40 yo woman. The scarf is nice. Are you getting younger?

  • The Tutor

    I read your post then heard Garrison Keillor (I think I spelled that right) sing “The Book Tour Blues” on Prairie Home Companion. Seemed timely. (If you want to hear it yourself on the podcast, the song comes about 10 minutes into the second hour of the show.)

    My husband, a PhD student, was comforted by your experience regarding your “coming out” that your husband is a minister. He was happy to know that he is not alone in the reaction he receives from academics when they discover that he attends church… oh the horror!

  • Evelyn

    Wow! Great pic of you! I’ve been following your blog for a while and seen many pics of you but like another poster said (in a way) you look great! Definitely getting younger! Wouldn’t go so far as to say you look like a 16 year old boy lol (I’m sure she meant it in the best possible way) but definitely an early 20s hip college student. Ok – you gotta share your secret with us. How do you stay so young?? common – we bought your books now share your secrets! 😉

  • Trish

    Nice model shot, Susan! Wow, the Post did cut that up, but they got some good points in at least. Wish they would have let you go on longer.

    Glad you had a great trip.

  • PariSarah

    Argh! The Div. School library has this “in process,” but I can’t get to it, because (ironically), I’m at the Div. School! If I were an undergrad, I could request it, rushed. Oh, the bureaucracy!!!

    I’ve gotten the “does not compute” reaction from people finding out dh is a minister, as well. I can only imagine how many churches would not hire him after the search committee met me (one more reason to be grateful for episcopal appointment!), so I’m not surprised at the mirror-image reaction.

  • Brooke

    Love the picture! I love that color blue on you. Can’t wait to read the book….mabye dad can bring me a copy at Christmas!

  • Kevin S

    I think they should have used the picture of you crawling around under your house. 😉

  • Rebekah

    You have probably seen this but on the off chance you haven’t: The Chronicle Review. Congrats on a great review!

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