One Degree of Separation


Driving, driving, driving, always in the frickin’ silver van, driving. Most of my important conversations are held in the car, with V3 hearing every word. I figured he would tune out this one:

“You know,” Princess Ai Lin said to me today on the way to her birthday lunch, apropos of nothing, “you are only one degree of separation away from Amy Tan.”

Princess Ai Lin knows I love Amy Tan. Love her. We attended a Lit Lunch at M on the Bund yesterday with Bea Long. The man speaking, Famous Author, is in the ensemble rock band the Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King, Dave Barry, and Amy Tan, among occasional others. Famous Author mentioned in his chat about his writing career that Ms. Tan was coming to town next week. He mentioned a lot of other things too, perseverance and failure raising their ugly heads once again, but my ears tingled at her mention. Immediately I began envisioning running into her in the megalopolis that is Shanghai and casually having a chat with her which ended with her becoming my pen pal.

And then Mrs. Famous Author sat next to me at lunch. I gave her my card in the event she needed help exporting a cat she didn’t get own. Bea Long, nice girl that she is, pulled up the pet exporter’s information from her cell phone. I wanted to stomp on that cute little black boot of hers but all I could do was smile. Mrs. Famous Author was a normal person and I am sure she could be my pen pal too, she was so genuine and friendly. Mrs. Famous Author likes, among other things, pseudonyms and is having a hard time learning Mandarin. Like I said, normal.

“I thought the same exact thing! Although I went a step further and specifically asked that God place Amy Tan in my path next week,” I replied to her. “And then I forgot about it this morning.”

We thought about this for awhile in the van, the van, the van, always in the frickin’ van.

“You could hang out at the Fabric Market. Mrs. Famous Author likes the Fabric Market and is sure to take her there,” PAL suggested, after awhile.

“Lurk amongst the bolts of silk on the off chance she needs a new qipao? I don’t think so. I was thinking maybe I could “run into” her at the airport …”

“How about the Literary Festival?”

“She’s not appearing there! That would have been the obvious choice,” I said.

“Where do you think the Famous Authors live?” PAL persisted.

“Somewhere in the French Concession.” I had heard Famous Author discussing a certain market, located in the area, with another litlunch guest. It sounded like they could walk to the market from his house.

I went home and pondered this. I pulled out a directory and there was listed Mrs. And Mrs. Famous Author, with their address and email. It was almost too easy. Crikey. Mr. Famous Author, I noted, uses a pseudonym. Not a very creative one, but still. So now I am faced with the ….

Question of the Day: Do I send an email, asking to drop off my books for Amy Tan to autograph? Or would that be considered stalking? Is it poor form not to send books for the Famous Author to sign, even though he signed one for me yesterday? These things shouldn’t be forced but … Leagal beagalettes, please chime in.



Filed under People, Reading, Star Gazing, Travel

5 responses to “One Degree of Separation

  1. Katyess

    Actually, Princess, I have a China question for you – my son is traveling to Bejing in a few weeks and I want to send him with some cash as he will have a credit card, but not a debit card and no way to get cash over there. The travel company recommended $100 and I understand that would get him approx. 684 Yuan – is that too much or too little spending money (for snacks, small items)? I’m at a loss and hoped that I could tap into your expertise.

    Oh, to answer your question of the day – I would send an email and thank Famous Author for signing book and ‘oh, I’ve got another I’d like signed, if you don’t mind. And would it be an imposition to leave some of my Tan books for signing, if she has the time?’ Or just a simple: Here’s $?? if you can get Tan to sign my books.

    Good luck.

  2. flaky friend

    I say go for it but ask for another one from the famous author. My question to you, though, is how will you arrange to get the books back? What if this guy is flaky and misplaces them?

  3. Mood Ring Mama

    I agree with Katyess’s recommended approach.

    Did you like Saving Fish From Drowning? I started it, but couldn’t get into it. Should I try again, or let it go?

  4. First of all, I am thrilled Katyess wrote in … I don’t think we’ve heard from her since the dueling colonoscopies …

    FF: he won’t misplace them because I am going to ask his wife to handle it and she doesn’t appear flaky. I will send V3 to handle the transaction, unless Mrs. Famous Author invites me for coffee.

    MRM: I did like Saving Fish From Drowning – try again. The title has a lot to do with the book and the Chinese are full of fun proverbs. Think about saving fish from drowning for a minute.

  5. I once did hear Amy Tan speak. I have no remembrance of what she said, but she was pretty. I also went to a Raymond Carver reading. He was good.

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