Seeing Kathy Reichs

This morning was not, broadly speaking, a success.

It started in a promising fashion. I grabbed two friends and headed to the local library to hear Kathy Reichs, author of forensic anthropology-tastic crime fiction, speak as part of the Decatur Book Festival. Unfortunately, I had misread the schedule–while doublechecking that we were in the right room (yay, neuroses!) I realized that we were at the panel for Kerry Reichs. She does not write about murder. You can understand how I might have misread all of this in the catalogue.

My friends and I beat a hasty retreat. Since there were four hours or so until Kathy Reichs was actually scheduled to appear, we hauled over to the second planned event of the day–a trip to meet a dog that I might possibly adopt from Urban Pet Project. I had emailed the manager the previous night and so was operating on the assumption that there would be someone at the shelter. Because of the long weekend (which the shelter manager had forgotten) there was no one there.

After some less-than-fruitful doorbell ringing, my friends and I managed to chat with some employees at the Barking Hound Village next door, who figured out what was up. Though very apologetic (and helpful!), they weren’t able to get us in to the shelter. Slightly irritated, we tried to salvage the morning: I suggested we get cupcakes at West Egg Cafe, which has the best cupcakes in town and is less than a mile from the shelter.

We walked in and almost immediately turned around: the cafe had a 40 minute wait. Though I do love the cupcakes, there are no baked goods that I love enough to stand in line for 40 minutes. (I’m fickle.) My friends, game for anything, walked with me to the yogurt shop next door. It was closed.

The morning was not going as planned.

The group admitted defeat, and we drove back across town to the book festival, where Kathy Reichs was speaking in two hours. The food situation was salvaged by Mellow Mushroom (the best drug-themed pizza place in town), and by the end of the meal my blood pressure was low enough that I was in the right frame of mind for an author reading.

The author reading, thankfully, did not disappoint. Reichs is an anthropologist, and so I (and the two anthro geeks I was with) was excited to her her speak. She was appropriately awkward and funny and kind of weird, like you would expect someone who deals with serial murder victims to be. She reminded me of various anthropology professor I have had (not surprising, since she is one herself). There were two great quotes of the presentation, paraphrased here:

“When did you decide to transition from teaching to writing crime fiction?” “Well, it’s publish or perish, so I was always writing. But after I got tenure, I realized, I could do what I wanted! And so I wrote fiction.”

I just find something hysterical about her basically laying it out as, “I waited until I got tenure and then I did whatever the hell I wanted.” The second great quote was about the TV version of her character, Temperance Brennan (the lead in Bones):

“Does Brennan have Asperger’s?” “No. She’s just super awkward.”

Anthropology! On a more serious note, I do like that she’s shying away from diagnosing the character (an introvert with bad people skills and a rough childhood) with something on the autism spectrum. She’s just kind of weird, as anthropologists are. So yay Kathy Reichs! Yay Bones! (I am pretending last season didn’t happen.)

After the rough morning, the afternoon was thankfully light, consisting as it did of wine and Doctor Who, ie my two favorite things. All in all, not a bad Sunday, even if I didn’t get to meet the dog.

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