I am hitting the road on Monday. This will be an unusual trip for me, because I’m first driving down to Charlotte NC for a couple of book promotional events and then flying from there to Chicago for the annual Leadership Symposium hosted by the Northwestern Alumni Association. Then I fly back to Charlotte and drive home. But first, the events.
On Monday night, I’ll be speaking to the Northwestern University Club of Charlotte in a “fireside chat.” I suspect there will be no fireside–the gathering is on the 30th floor of a bank building, in a law office–but still. My topic will be something I’m very familiar with: Me. (That is, Me and my journey from being a Northwestern student back in the day, through my international law career, and now being a writer.) I’ll have some observations about the publishing industry along the way and maybe some in attendance will want to buy a book. I’m especially keen to talk about the new anthology, Everywhere Stories. It was very kind of the NU Club to set up the event.
On Tuesday night I’ll be speaking to the Charlotte Writers’ Club. This is the real reason I’m coming to town, as the CWC invited me almost a year ago to be their first speaker of the Fall. I’ve written a talk called “On Being a Writer,” which I hope will be of interest to the Club. Basically I’ll be talking about my own journey and what it means to be a writer. I’ve spoken to some writers’ clubs before and I really enjoy it because they tend to really understand the challenges in a way that civilians–non-writers–do not.
It will be fun to be back in Charlotte, where I spent a lot of time while getting my MFA at Queens University of Charlotte. That was the low residency program that I began in May of 2001 and finished in May of 2003. It seems a lifetime ago, but it was a great experience. I doubt that I would have published anything if I hadn’t gone back to school, and the program at Queens was perfect for what I needed.