The Girl with Big Hair

The Girl with Big Hair

General The Circus in Winter

My freshman ID card, circa 1987.

On Thursday, July 19 at 7 PM, I’ll be at the new Indy Reads Books reading a story called “The Girl with Big Hair.” Here’s why you should come.

Because I had some rockin’ hair in 1987. Admit it.

Because you’ve probably never read this story. It was published in The Gettysburg Review in 1999. The story concerns Jenny and Ethan Perdido, characters in The Circus in Winter, but because it’s not set in Lima, Indiana, the editor and I decided it didn’t quite fit into the book manuscript.

Because it’s about my internship at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. In 1990, I went to New York with a bunch of other Midwestern college kids. We lived in a Chelsea brownstone and did internships by day and roamed the city by night—and got college credit! It was glorious.

Because one of the other kids in this program was this guy from Wabash College named Eric Kroczek, who I clicked with immediately but pretty much blew off.

1990, New York City. Eric and I are far right.

Because when I sat down in 1995 to write a story about my Interview experience, I remembered blowing Eric off and put him in the story. I changed his name to “Nate.”

Because when Comeback Season was published in 2008, I was interviewed on WFYI’s Art of the Matter, and Eric Kroczek/”Nate” was living in Indianapolis, driving to the grocery store, and he heard me on Art of the Matter. When he got home, he emailed me and we clicked again and a year and a half later, we got married—17 years after we met in New York City.

[This is where it all comes together.] Because that interview that Eric was listening to was conducted by Travis DiNicola, Executive Director of Indy Reads, who made Indy Reads Books a reality.

Because if it wasn’t for Travis, I might not be happily married.

Because, to thank Travis, I’m bringing wonderful things to give away to people who come to the reading with books to donate., including a vintage issue of Interview magazine that is featured prominently in the story I will be reading.

Because the best reason to come to the reading is that you’ll be supporting a new bookstore in downtown Indy as well as a nonprofit that brings literacy to adults in Indianapolis. That’s something you can feel pretty great about.

And if all of that is not enough to convince you to come to this reading, I offer this: my parents will be there, and they are really, really cute.

My parents circa 2004. Still this cute.

Details!

Thursday, July 19 at 7:00 PM at 911 Mass Ave., Indianapolis.

Bring books to donate! There will be a drawing! Win things!

Here’s the Facebook invite.

Me and the staff of Interview, circa 1990. Good times. They offered me a job! But I turned it down and went to grad school instead.

Talk to the Volleyball or “Know Your Audience” (Real or Imagined)

General Teaching Writing

Blogging has taught me that some of my best writing–my clearest, most readable narrative voice–emerges when I imagine that I’m writing (or talking) to a specific group of people.

You may have noticed that I often interview myself here at “The Big Thing.”

Really? I never noticed that, Cathy.

Well, I do. I learned this trick writing Comeback Season; whenever I got stuck, I’d bring out my handy-dandy sideline reporter Suzy Hightop. She asked me pointed questions, and I was forced to answer them. Eventually, Suzy became not just a device, but a real person to me. She became my Wilson, the volleyball/friend in Castaway with Tom Hanks. 

Since I started blogging, I’ve learned that when a post is swirling around and going nowhere, I should make up fake interview questions posed by the ideal reader of that particular post.

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