It's always such a treat for me to visit book clubs (such as the lovely one pictured that I visited in Claremont last Friday.) I love connecting with such passionate readers; they always come up with the most wonderful, thoughtful questions and help me see my work in fresh ways. One woman at the book club on Friday wisely commented upon how Self Storage couldn't have been set in today's post-election world; the fear and intolerance that were such hallmarks of the post-9/11 Bush era wouldn't have the same resonance in a story set after Obama's win. I hadn't thought about this before, and am so grateful that Self Storage now represents only a small, dark sliver of American history.
I am also so grateful to see how the word YES has exploded since then. In 2002, YES was not so easy to come by; when my main character Flan found the word inside a box in a storage auction and decided to go in search of her own source of YES, it felt like an almost radical act. The world at the time was so full of NO. As I wrote the novel, I had no idea that in a few years, millions of people would be chanting YES WE CAN and working together to say YES to the future. Such a beautiful and joyous affirmation. The host of the book club even baked a YES cake, the letters shaped with Hershey's kisses, so we had a chance to literally embody the word.
I am visiting another book club next week; I am eager to hear their questions and see how they'll open my eyes anew.