This weekend is culmination of the 31st annual Miami Book Fair International, where an exciting and diverse group of authors converge to give talks and ultimately push their books on eager and willing readers. But any expert Book Fair-goer will tell you that meeting Anne Rice or Cornell West is not the real draw. No sir. The true reason to attend this event is to be at the intersection of the world’s largest collection of people with the most annoying behavioral quirks.

Photo courtesy of MDC.
Look at all of the annoying people.

Below I’ve assembled a checklist to help you look out for these offenders as you walk along the myriad tents on S.E. 2nd Avenue. Once you have crossed paths with all of these people, bring your completed worksheet to my booth, The Lazy Would-Be Authors Guild, located between the portable toilet and the New York Times’ tent for a prize.*

__  A misunderstood teenager who believes they are a vampire/zombie hybrid.

__  A woman who insists on retouching her makeup in the middle of pedestrian traffic, right before meeting the author.

__  A man who is constantly fiddling with his black-rimmed designer glasses because he secretly hates them, but has to wear them to seem relevant.

__  Someone who is violently chewing their gum, minimum five chews per second.

__  A heterosexual couple that consists of one overly affectionate male. At least one hand has to be on his female companion at all times in order to qualify.

__  Someone who turns to their neighbor and loudly whispers, “This is a great talk!”

__  A person asking an author to sign a book written by another author.

__  A man who brought books to the Book Fair to read during the sessions, you know, in case it’s boring.

__  A woman who felt the need to dramatically stop what she was doing to sketch an inanimate object.

__  Someone who uses the word ‘astral’ within 30 seconds of introducing themselves to you in the bathroom.

__  A man who presents an elaborate conspiracy theory concerning genetics and/or the Illuminati during a Q & A session.

__  A woman who is forcing her children to lug around 23 canvas bags filled with promotional giveaways.

__  A struggling writer who hasn’t seen the sun in 81 days.

__  A man with an ironic haircut.

__  Someone who laughs really, really loudly before the punchline.

__  A woman who blogs because she doesn’t have the patience or attention span to write a book.  

*Prize is subject to change. Location is subject to change. Additional behaviors can be added to the list at any time. Not valid in the state of Florida or any other state or country of the world.

Come to my voicemail

In the latest episode of the drama of running a lesbian ezine (if you’re not caught up, read this first), we discover, first-hand, the power of Melissa Etheridge.

Legend has it that Melissa Etheridge possesses the most irresistible vagina in the world. It was handed down to her by the Fanny God Mothers: Marlena Dietrich, Frida Khalo, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Ever since, she’s been breaking hearts and overflowing the delicate cycles of the world’s washing machines with innumerable dirty panties.

For this reason, the lesbian nest was in a stir when the news came through that the Goddess had agreed to let us interview her.

As a good editor, I made the difficult decision to remove myself from doing the interview. I was taught that editors are nothing more than nurturing mothers that encourage their children to be the best, even though they are shitty writers. So, for the sake of the group, I waited on the sidelines to watch the lesbians knock themselves out, ready to pick up the winner, wipe her bloody nose, and shove questions and talking points in her face.

To their defense, it wasn’t the blood sport I expected. There was only one injury, and it was more of an ego bruise, which will heal in 5 to 7 days.

After running resist-the-vagina drills and phone interview dress-rehearsals (hat included), I felt confident that at least 7 out of the 15 minutes would be heaven-like.

The day of the interview, I waited to hear from the writer like a patient father-to-be in a 1970’s hospital waiting room. And, when the call finally came, I picked it up at the first buzz.

“Hello?” I whispered. The conversation that followed lasted a little less than 7 minutes. Other than “Hello,” and “Bye,” I said one other phrase, over and over, which was, “I don’t believe you.”

Apparently, Melissa called. Twice. We know this because she left two voicemails. Two. In both messages she wondered why we weren’t picking up her call.

“Hello, this is Melissa Etheridge,” in all her raspy-voice-glory. “I guess we should reschedule.”

Later we come to find that all calls made to Sprint carriers were going straight to voicemail.

So, in a matter of 15 minutes, the power of Melissa Etheridge: (1.) turned Sprint in the “not Now Network,”  (2.) led a music writer to physically run-around a parking lot to check the reception on her phone; (3.) allowed me to remain calm, as I was convinced me that this was all a really bad practical joke; (4.) activated the lesbian emergency phone tree to find a landline; (5.) propelled a flurry of apology emails to publicists, assistant publicists, and executive assistants, and (6.) caused one of the co-owners of BOUND to have symptoms of a heart attack.

That’s the power of the most irresistible vag in the world.

Check on 10.11.12 to figure out if we landed the interview, or if that writer is still out in the parking lot trying to get a signal.

Hyperbole times two

It’s generally difficult for me to speak about feelings – particularly, you  know, with words. Coherently. In sentences. I’m getting ahead of myself. In one sentence.

It’s difficult to put together a sentence to describe what I feel. Inside. Not physically inside. Emotionally inside.

Apparently, I have the same problem when I write.

“Sad.” That’s the only word that comes to mind.

For the past month, I’ve been perpetually sad. And it’s so getting old.

I have nothing against sadness. It’s a perfectly fine emotion, felt by people with problems, like missing limbs and teeth. It’s just that there’s really nothing wrong with me. Well. I guess I should say there’s nothing really wrong with me. I have a roof that I don’t own and, therefore, don’t have to worry about. I have a lovely partner that is almost as funny as our dog. We share a ambiguously gender queer turtle, named Turtle and, although we don’t talk about it, we both fantasize about setting her/him free. It’s a very happy household, except for Turtle, who is undoubtedly miserable.

Yet, here I am. Crying myself to sleep. Getting bad haircuts. Eating my feelings. Unable to write or speak in full sentences.

My bartender, my mother, and my new astrologer (more on this in an upcoming blog), all suggested I see my therapist. And, I suggested we should see the good doctor all together, but they didn’t accept.

I suppose I’ll go, but I doubt it will help. I just end up sitting there quietly. Quietly staring at the doctor. Until she asks me how I feel. Then I’ll turn into Keira Knightley in “A Dangerous Method.”