Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Problem With "For Esme- With Love And Squalor " Is Not Everyone Is Named Esme

I have a problem, and I'm hoping the readers of this blog can help me out.

In less than a week, I'm making my first Life As We Knew It public appearance. It will be at the Moffat library in Washingtonville, NY, and I've been looking forward to it (and the cookies I've been promised) for months now.

Following that, I'll be dropping in at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT. And I found out, just a few minutes ago, that I'll be a guest of Harcourt for NCTE in New York City in November.

I know from my obsessive googling that the Moffat Library has purchased ten copies of LAWKI to give to people in attendance (you would think the cookies would be enticement enough). And those ten people are going to expect me to inscribe their books.

It wouldn't surprise me if someone at the Flying Pig wants an inscription as well. And the word "autographing" was used in the e-mail Harcourt sent me about NCTE.

So here's the problem. I have never found a phrase I really like to use when inscribing my books. I like the To Fill In The Blank part (I enjoy trying to guess how people spell their first names), and I'm quite comfy with Sue Pfeffer and the date. It's the in between stuff that I have trouble with.

I used to inscribe "Keep on reading" although I don't remember who suggested it to me, and frankly I never liked it. I went through a "I hope you enjoy my book" stage, but that's a lot of words and besides it makes me sound emotionally needy. My brother's message on his answering machine a long time ago was "Peace and joy" and I borrowed that for a bit, but it's a little weird to inscribe. Then I switched over to "Best Wishes" but that suggests that somewhere I'm wishing someone else "Second Best Wishes," which would be kind of rude.

Add to the mix the fact that LAWKI is all about, well, death and dead people and the end of life on earth, and all those happy inscriptions sound even less appropriate.

Now I could write "Impeach Bush" since that's what I write on dollar bills every now and again, but I'm the guest of the Moffat Library and the Flying Pig Bookstore and Harcourt, and it's within the realm of possibility one or more of those worthy organizations might not approve of the inscription (regardless of how they feel about the sentiment).

So I'm turning to you. I figure everyone reading this blog has either inscribed a book or had a book inscribed or knows someone who inscribed a book or had a book inscribed or dreams of inscribing a book or having a book inscribed or dreams of knowing someone who inscribed a book or had a book inscribed. Forgive me if I left anyone out.

So could you please, either in the comments section or if you're shy by e-mail, come up with some suggestions? The more the better, because I'd love to have a choice. If I go with any of them, I'll announce it. Knowing me, I'll even tell people as I'm signing my books. I'm never reluctant to share credit.

But the cookies are all mine.

15 comments:

J said...

Hey, here is that website i was talking about where i made the extra cash.. later! i'm going to cali next week..check this out

gnomeloaf said...

My first thought was "Here's why every home should have a woodstove!" but that's probably not the tone you're looking for.

Maybe "Best wishes in the world that once was"? I know that when I finished LAWKI, the first thing I did was go make myself a sandwich and enjoy my lighted, heated kitchen.

Marci said...

How about "Hoping your moon stays in its orbit!"

or

"Don't forget to buy rice!"

or

"Let the sun shine and the moon stay put!"

or

"You cannot have too much chocolate!"

or

"Here's to life as we know it!"

or

"Moonlit nights will never be the same!"

Mary Burkey said...

I vote for the good old standard "Be prepared!" Lord knows the first thing everone does when they finish LAWKI is run to the pantry to make a mental list.

Mary Burkey said...

I vote for the good old standard "Be prepared!" Lord knows the first thing everone does when they finish LAWKI is run to the pantry to make a mental list.

Reading Fool said...

Hmmm...how about:

Bundle up!

or

When in doubt, horde. (Okay, joking on that one!)

Elizabeth said...

Hi, Sue! We can't wait to have you here at the Flying Pig. And while we certainly can endorse your "Impeach Bush" sentiment, it doesn't really speak to LAWKI, so... I do love "Be prepared!" and "Bundle up," and "Check your water stores," "It's never too late to start canning," etc. : ) The shorter, the better for your signing hand, too....

See you soon!
Elizabeth

gwenda said...

My favorite inscription that was book-related was from Kevin Brockmeier on his book Brief History of the Dead (the basic conceit of which is that you exist in the afterlife only as long as someone is alive who remembers who, no matter how vaguely they do so): To Gwenda, who I will remember.

So you could come up with something post-apocalypsey. You know, wishing you water or an elderly neighbor who hordes food or no volcanoes or Something Like That.

Marci said...

Meteorically yours,

From the Sunroom,

Initials of Here's To Life as We Know it HTLAWKI,

Esther said...

Hi Susan --

You could borrow another one from your brother: Blessings upon you!

Best,
Esther

Anonymous said...

Carpe Diem

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Breaking in to this very useful discussion to say I considered carpe diem (and l'chaim for that matter) and decided against any inscription I'd have to translate to explain.

Meanwhile, thanks to all of you, and keep up the good work. Monday will be here before we know it.

Maharshal said...

To a better world!

Anonymous said...

Keep a weather eye out!

Anonymous said...

Absit omen, or
Vive ut vivas