Monday, April 25, 2011

My First Time: Claudia Sternbach

My First Time is a regular feature in which writers talk about virgin experiences in their writing and publishing careers, ranging from their first rejection to the moment of holding their first published book in their hands.  Today's guest is Claudia Sternbach, author of Reading Lips: a Memoir of Kisses, which has just been published by Unbridled Books.  At The Book Lady's Blog, reviewer Rebecca Joines Schinsky wrote: "This slim volume is a one-sitting read and would be an excellent companion on the couch, the beach, or at a book club meeting.  Sternbach is funny when she wants to be, serious when she needs to be, and often quite poignant, and Reading Lips is a delightful gift of a book.”  Sternbach is the Editorial Board Chair of Memoir Journal and Editor in Chief of their publication Memoir (and).  Her first memoir, Now Breathe, was published by Whiteaker Press in 1999.

My First Faux Pas

It wasn't planned.  A lunch date had been made with my agent, that is true.  It wasn't our first dining experience together.  She, a lovely woman, had invited me to sit across the table from her and discuss projects more than once.

It was a winter afternoon in New York City.  We entered the midtown cafe and were greeted by a slender young woman dressed stylishly and asking the customary, "How many?"

Directed to a booth I shrugged off my coat before taking a seat.  My agent did the same.  As we were removing our first layers of clothing she asked what was new.  Nothing, was my reply.  Then I took a good look at her as she finished pulling off her winter wear.

But, I said grinning and wishing I wasn't saying what I was saying right as I said it, "I see something is new with you," directing my gaze towards her puffed out empire waist dress.

Her face reddened as she shook her head no.  Mine went white as I realized I had just stuck my winter-booted foot in my mouth.  It was the first time I ever passed on the cafĂ©’s elegant eggplant panini and chose instead the taste of my footwear.

Photo by Kira Sternbach

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