The director of the tutoring center here at work sits on the board of The Writer’s Garret. So when she found out that a guest author’s speaking engagement got canceled and that she needed a new venue — STAT! — our good director went, “Oooh! I know of one!”
And that’s how Eastfield College got to host Allegra Huston last Wednesday.
Allegra Huston, the younger sister of Anjelica Huston, is on a book tour, promoting her book, a memoir of her fractured childhood called Love Child. And so her topic was her book — what it’s about, how she wrote it, and so forth.
I, along with a couple of other professors, brought our classes to her lecture. Other members of the Eastfield College community was there, including the college president. Huston read excerpts from her book, and her mostly American accent would slide into a distinctly English accent; I don’t know if she was ever aware of that. She was self-effacing, funny, and a little bit nervous; we liked her almost instantly.
There was a book table afterwards: the usual book-selling and book-signing. I wanted a copy but didn’t have the cash on me; fortunately, the good director bought it for me (I paid her back just this morning).
A handful of my ENGL 1301 students also bought copies, which made me happy — READING, yay! Since my ENGL 1301 students mostly write essays, based on their own personal experiences and memories, I was glad that they got an opportunity to see that one can actually make a living, writing such things, that reading and writing isn’t just something you do for school.
And, if you have a story within you, you can write it.
One of my students, who is blind, a single mom, on food stamps, and going through a messy divorce, sat rapt as she listend to Huston speak. She was one of my students who bought a book (with another of my students chipping in for her). As we sat together, eating meat-and-cheese roll-ups at the reception, we talked about the writing process and about memoirs.
If only every class day was like this.
It was a good day, when Allegra Huston was in town.
Oh, yeah — I finished reading the book this past Saturday. Wow, what a wild ride she had growing up but, miracle of miracles, happy endings DO exist in real life. It happened to her.
Makes one hope, doesn’t it? 🙂