GLORIA BE AGAIN
As you may recall, a few weeks ago I whined about how my daughter met Gloria Steinem while running about the grounds of a writers’ retreat. Today I got my chance.
A friend of ours serves on the Board of Directors for the retreat. (That’s how Tigger came to be there, playing with the friend’s kid.) Today she invited me to attend a fund-raising event for the place, featuring Steinem herself reading from the book she’s working on while staying in a cottage there.
I arrived to find a room full of women with just a smattering of men. Many alumni of the retreat attended, along with sympathetic supporters. They all looked pretty much the way you would expect literary artists and art patrons to look. Middle-aged and up, and casual but well put together.
I drank some wine and chatted a bit, feeling weird and out of place. Sure, I’m a writer. But am I literary enough for this crowd? Is my work important?
When the program began, five women gave testimonial speeches about how cool the retreat is. How it nurtured their creativity. How the community of writers welcomed them. How they got to spend days or weeks without kids or dishes or day jobs, just writing and sharing with other writers.
Well, it did sound pretty great.
Steinem was funny and self-effacing and warm. She read a bit of her book and a part of an essay about her father. Afterward, my friend introduced me, explaining that she’d met my daughter in the woods.
When I left the house this evening I told Tigger I was going to meet Steinem. “Cool,” she said. “Tell her I said hi.”
So I told Gloria that Tigger says hi. And we talked for about a minute and a half about the piece she read. Then she turned to greet the next schmoozer.
That was my brush with greatness for the day.
Maybe someday I’ll work on something literarily important enough to win me a few weeks in a cottage in the woods.