I wish you’d been with me at the Texas Book Festival. I had such a grand time. Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess and the author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, spoke at the Paramount Theater and had me stomping my feet with laughter. That’s not an exaggeration. If you ever have the chance to go hear Jenny, do it!

Yael Kohen

I intended to race from Jenny’s session to hear Yael Kohen, author of We Killed: The Rise of Women in Comedy. But on that first day of the festival, the security lines to get into the Texas State Capitol were so long (perhaps because it was so chilly that everyone wanted indoors) that I wouldn’t have made the session. So instead of racing, I sauntered … and I sauntered over to the Capitol Grill to grab some food and ended up visiting with novelist and Texas Observer columnist Ruth Pennebaker. Then I trekked back over to the Paramount for TBF’s first ever panel on erotica.

I was fascinated by the diversity of the erotica crowd – men and women, young, old and in between, white, black, Asian, etc. I guess that’s proof that “everyone does it,” which is a quote from erotica writer and panelist Pat Tucker. “Everyone does it. Well, nuns don’t do it, but everyone but nuns does it.”

I would love to sit down and talk to Pat. Perhaps that’s because she’s a respected journalist who happens to write about sex. In other words, we have something in common. Okay, maybe she’s respected and I’m just a journalist. Still…

Rachel Kramer Bussel

Thankfully, I did get to spend time visiting with erotica writer and panelist Rachel Kramer Bussel. Oh, my gosh! Rachel is the sweetest, nicest woman. I just wish we’d gotten to chat somewhere other than the Shangri-la Club after I talked about sex and drugs at Lit Crawl Austin. Okay, truth. Neal Pollack, J.R. Helton, and Tyler Stoddard Smith talked about drugs. I talked about sex.

The closest I got to talking about drugs came after Neal asked us what our favorite drug is. I answered Viagra, though I’ve never used it. But, hey, I write about sex. What else am I supposed to say? Then again, as many aspirin as I swallow, maybe I should have answered Bayer. Then, after Neal asked us what drug we would want if we were stranded on an island, I answered Diet Coke. With all those chemicals and caffeine, I think it qualifies as a drug.

Anyway, back to Rachel, the reason I wish we’d talked somewhere other than the Shangri-la is just so I could have heard her better. Clubs aren’t all that conducive to intimate conversation. But Rachel and I thought we’d  get to visit again when she attended my Sunday afternoon Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality session.

Anticipating that the security lines would be long again, I had Tweeted and Facebooked people to arrive early. To my great shock, though, the Capitol security lines were rapid transit while there was a long line to get into my session. And the session was standing room only. Alas, many of my friends, including my new friend Rachel, were turned away.

As I stared at the packed room, while the fabulous Jodi Egerton introduced me, I again thought about Pat Tucker – “Everyone does it. Well, nuns don’t do it, but everyone but nuns does it” – because that room was packed with men and women of all races and ages.

And to my second great shock, once we started no one fled the room. They all stayed for the entire session … and many stopped to talk to me afterwards. I won’t tell you all about the Secret Sex Lives session, though. For one, it would sound like false bragging. And two, it really needs to come from someone else. Maybe I can talk Jodi into writing about it.

Instead, I’m going to tell you about my favorite part of the Texas Book Festival. But, oh, gee, is it going to sound like false bragging too? Dang it, I’m going to tell you anyway and Jodi can vouch for its veracity since she was standing nearby when it happened. I was sitting in the book signing tent when two women rushed up with Secret Sex Lives in hand. They told me that they’d planned on going to the Dan Rather session but had decided to skip it to come get me to sign their book instead. Wow! What an honor! And here’s the proof that that happened.


Wish you’d been there!

Suzy Spencer is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist.
  1. lori braun Reply
    Suzy, I am so sad that me and Kenny were turned down to see your panel (running a bit late)! You were our MAIN event! The lines were long and it became full. We had a conflict when you were at Book People so we were determined to see you at TBF! I am happy to say we taped your Katie interview and saved it for a grand screening (after kids were long asleep)—awesome! We want a signed book! I am so happy for this wonderful journey you are on and we both feel lucky that our paths have crossed. Hope to see you soon, Lori (& KB)

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