Frankfurt Book Fair, Day Three

Guten morgen once again.

Frankfurt is very lovely from my window right now as I type this. It’s sunny and fall-ish. The leaves on the tree just outside my window are shades of green, orange, brown, and yellow. Across the street is an apartment building that looks old, but, as I was informed last night, probably isn’t, because the bombing in WWII destroyed much of the city, and things weren’t really rebuilt until the 1980’s. And when they decided to rebuild, they decided to make things look as they were before. Very interesting. But the opera house pretty much survived WWII. We drove past that last night and it was gorgeous in the moonlight, with a winged horse statue on top. Made me feel like writing something spooky.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday, I shampooed my hair with actual shampoo. What a treat! Wow, I said to my hair in the mirror, you are bouncin’ AND behavin’. Foxy. Today is special!

Then I spent approximately twenty minutes trying in vain to find my exhibitor pass that lets me into the fair.

Now, I knew I had used it and placed it right back in the inner pocket of my purse. I had not taken it out to, say, stage photos of my pass all over Germany. “Look! Here is my pass enjoying a nice espresso near the reading tent!” “Now my filly of a pass looks shyly over her shoulder at the crowds. Do not fret, pass, for you are beautiful here among the throngs!” So I am growling and snarling over this–where could it be? Resigned, I take a taxi to the hall and buy a day pass to get in. Two hours later, I discover my exhibitor pass tucked neatly into the passport that I shook earlier which had been in the inside pocket of my purse. Oh, pass–you little minx. Why do you play so with my heart? Ah, you are as you are, ma fille.

Then I stop pretending I am a pipe-smoking Frenchman buffeted by the cruelties of love and existence because it’s just a piece of paper.

I had some of the famous dtv book stand coffee, which is made with a touch of rocket fuel and makes you feel as if you can cheat death. Actually, I drank two cups, so I pretty much felt like Iron Man at that point. A very animated Iron Man. I met with some of my foreign publishers–Loretta, from Italy; May, my subagent in Japan; and Thilla, my Dutch publisher. It was very nice of them to take the time out from their own duties at the fair to say hi, and I much appreciated it.

After that, there was another photo shoot. That was fine since I no longer had Godzilla zit taking over the Tokyo of my face. (“The Tokyo of Your Face.” Doesn’t that sound like it should be a cheesy 1970’s song? I can see the album cover with some Hall & Oates-ish guy lounging against a piano, his mustache a paragon of hirsute virility, his polyester shirt open to reveal many gold chains like age rings on a tree, and in his martini glass is a Godzilla swizzle stick. “The Tokyo of your face,” he sings, “trembles…’neath the lizard of my…desire….” Now I am completely distracted. You know I will spend part of my day trying to come up with more ridiculous lyrics to “The Tokyo of My Face.” Better yet–YOU GUYS come up with them. Feel free to submit your own stanzas here. Let your inner ‘stache, sensitive-songwriter-playa-man go wild.)

But I digress.

After the photo shoot, I met with my audio book goddess, Julia Nachtmann, and journalist, Tanya Lieske. Tanya interviewed Barry and me in our kitchen in Brooklyn back in the spring, and it was such a wonderful interview. Tanya is warm and smart and engaging, and I was so happy to see her again. And Julia! Wow, what a voice: husky, whisky-like. I just wanted to hear her read all day. We go to the public reading, and I’m gobsmacked because there are actual people there and they are kind and attentive, even when I do my Marlene Dietrich impression, which is always a big crowd pleaser…if, say, you’re incarcerated and there’s no other entertainment. Tanya asks the questions in German, then whispers them to me in English. I answer in English and she gives a translation in German. We read, with me starting a section and Julia reading the last half of a section. Julia is so good that even though I don’t know German, I know exactly where she is in the text, because her emotion and her various voices are that good. Chills. Afterward, I meet with some lovely German readers and sign books. We get kicked out to make room for the next reading, and so Jessica from audiobooks leads us on a long, winding tour of the Frankfurt Book Fair–all of us following her like ducklings. There are quite a few Manga kids in costume (more on that in a moment) among us, so we must like quite the spectacle. I sign books and talk for a good while, and then I have an interview with the lovely woman whose name has just flown out of my head. Argh! It will come back to me. Anyway, we do an audio book interview along with Julia and there is a lot of laughing. She asks which character I most identify with, and I say Gemma but with some Felicity and Gorgon thrown in. Julia says she most identifies with Gemma, too. She does her Gorgon voice which scares the pee-pee out of me. AAHHHHHH!!!!! It is scary.

I say goodbye to them and go back to the dtv booth for an interview with Katharina, a high school student, and her brother, Max. They present me with a lovely jar of mustard from Dusseldorf, where they are famous for their mustard. I love mustard, so I’m thrilled.

There is a dinner out with dtv and Anya Ulinich keeps us all in stitches. “You should also be a stand-up comedienne,” I tell her.
“They tried that,” she says in her heavily accented English. “They sent me to ‘Funny Jew Hour’ at Joe’s Pub. I flopped. I am apparently not such a funny Jew.”
Anya is funny. Trust.

I’ll try to tell you more about the Manga and Steampunk kids and the dinner later as I have to check out and get to the Fair pronto and then onto a train to Munich.

Work on those lyrics, folks.

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