Monday, October 24, 2005

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked and its new sequel, Son of a Witch, was in town (well, not far, in Lake Forest Park) tonight, and so of course Laura and I went over to see him. Here's a picture of him signing my copy of Son of a Witch, along with his traveling mascot:

At any rate, it was a nice time. He read an important, relavant passage from Wicked (has it really been ten years since it came out?), then a couple of excerpts from Son of a Witch. He has obviously done this a few times now, as he has nice voice inflections for all the characters. He also sounds quite a bit like Joel Grey. After the readings, he answered a few questions, including why he wrote Son of a Witch (not for the money, as it turns out, but in response to all the requests from junior high school girls wondering what happened to Norr, which dovetailed into what happened at Abu Gharib a couple of years ago), his experience with the Baum Oz books (he only read the first two as a child, as his library didn't have them -- not an uncommon occurrence at the time -- but caught up as an adult), and a few bits of some of the questions hanging at the end of Wicked that are explained in Son of a Witch. He also went into a bit of his rendition of what Son of a Witch might sound like if it were ever to follow Wicked to the Broadway stage as a musical (just imagine the phrase "Son of a Witch" sung to the opening chords of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and you get the idea).

Then we all trooped on over to another part of the store for the signing, where it turns out he'd already signed my copy of Wicked, even though I'd never met the man before in my life. I concluded that I must have bought it from Books of Wonder, which often send out signed copies to mail order customers. So he just added a "To Eric" at the top (I don't blame him, it was a long line, and he's on a twenty-nine city signing tour, I'd save some writing energy, too, if I were him!), but did the whole thing to Son of a Witch. We talked very briefly about the Oz Club and conventions, and how I'm sorry I didn't see him at the Ozmopolitan Convention a few years ago, so Laura chimed in that he should come to Winkies some time. He took it seriously enough that he sent regrets about next year (just as well, it's already a pretty big lineup), but I'll see what I can do about getting him an invitation to 2007...

I also saw a few nice old Oz books in the store's display case. There was a copy of Ojo in Oz in dust jacket (I didn't see a price, but I'm sure it was quite a bit) and a very nice-looking first edition of The Purple Prince of Oz for a very reasonable price. If I didn't already have a first of Purple Prince, and/or if I actually had some money right now, I would have seriously considered buying it. But right now, if I were to buy an Oz book with color, I'd rather get one that I don't already have -- and yes, there are quite a few of the Thompson books that I don't already have in color.

At any rate, it was a delightfully Ozzy evening, and now I have another autographed Oz book. Now all I need is to see the show. Next September, it's coming...

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