Did I hear the question properly?
I replayed the words in my head. Maybe our connection was funky. After all, my interviewer was across the country in Connecticut. He’d told me, before we went on air, that a whopper storm had just swept through. He’d had to scramble to implement back-up measures before power had been restored mere moments before I called the station. That’s the way this radio phone interview thing works.
P.R. is not my thing. At least, it didn’t used to be. The last six weeks of stumping for my memoir have changed all that. TV still scares me. A few days ago, I did a television interview and I had a hard time thinking about anything except how the make-up artist seemed to have given me a “cirque de face” (to quote Zooey Deschanel from “The Good Girl.”)
But I’ve made friends with radio. You don’t have to have any make-up on to talk to an interviewer over the phone. Half the time, I’m in my nightgown or my sweats, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a few pages of notes scattered in front of me in case my brain needs a jump-start, even though as a dear friend reminded me, “You’re not talking about economics. This is your life. You know this.”
It’s true. I suppose I’m the world expert on my life.
What I do not consider myself extraordinarily expert on is spaghetti sauce. Why, then, was this guy saying, “I hear you’re famous for your spaghetti sauce?” And what did that have to do with my book? Then I remembered. The VBT. Virtual Book Tour. I’d answered what must have been at least a hundred online questions during the course of the thing. One of them had been: “If you were going to have five authors to dinner who would they be and what would you serve?”
Spaghetti, I had said. Because you can make the sauce ahead of time so I wouldn’t be spending half the evening in the kitchen. (Then I amended myself to make it penne because it’s easier to eat, and no one wants sauce dribbling down her chin when she’s sitting across from T.S. Eliot and David Sedaris even though Sedaris could spin that into something hysterical.)
So… you write a book about your transition to widowhood – about the last year of your husband’s life and the first year of the rest of your life without him and the through-the-looking-glass transition between the two. I guess you know that transition is complete when people segue, in an instant, from talking about chemotherapy and the black hole of grief to asking how you make your killer spaghetti sauce.