book soup driftwood poster


I had a wonderful trip out to sweet home California, the mothership. The reading at Green Apple in San Francisco was fantastic — I tabulated the number of people I knew who were there at just over 50, and there were some faces I didn’t know, so I would call that a success.

It was an honor to read at Book Soup in LA, which was terrible fun, as well. Plus, they created the gorgeous poster you see above.

It has been sort of hard to come down from this adventure, all the nervous energy and racing around and then…back to work and grading papers and dog hugs. Strange transition. What I have noticed, though, is what has become important for me.

Here’s the thing: I hate marketing and find it a necessary evil. The truth is that I hate it because I am not very good at it. My default setting is SELF DEPRECIATING (that’s what it says on the dial). At the same time, I really want people to read my work. I want to connect to people. That connection is what is most important.

At the readings I’ve done so far both here in my rural oasis and in California, I have been able to really connect with people. The questions during the post-reading Q&A are never the same, which I find fascinating. And I have come to understand that my creation has a different impact on different people. This seems facile, but it runs really deep.

There are those who connect to the loss of a parent. There are those who connect to the loss of a loved one and the fantasy fulfillment of being able to hold onto correspondence from said loved one that seeks to clarify what, in life, may have been foggy. There are those who crave a closer relationship with a parent and see that illustrated in the book.

(This brings me to an aside about the term “daddy issues.” Someone asked a really insightful question at the LA reading about the appeal of Clem’s relationship with her father to those who suffer from — for lack of a better term — “daddy issues.” I think that those of us who don’t have the easiest father/daughter relationships can see the letters as hope that there are dads out there who are present and know how to connect with their daughters. But what really got to me was the term “daddy issues.” We all agreed that it is distasteful, but for some reason it really started to make me mad. Women who have difficult/horrible/non-existent/damaged relationships with their fathers are said (generally by men) to have “daddy issues” and it is in no way a compliment. There is no admiration there. We are seen as damaged goods and the onus is on US, not the shit fathers. So let’s lose that term. RANT OVER.)

Back to the connection aspect. There are those who connect to the mythology of California. There are those who connect to the aimlessness that Clem feels. There are those who love stories of the open road. There are those who connect to the inspection of identity, memory, and justice.

This connection is what is most important. Human to human connection is essential and the best way I can accomplish this is through the written word.

I still hear stories about how 1,033 Reasons to Smile touches people and provides them with small moments of happiness during the day. This is heavy. This is what everything is all about.

I hope that my words connect with you. I hope you share them with others who may want or need that connection. I hope you connect with as many people as possible in our short time on this blue dot. That’s what it’s all about.



students reading plays aloud in class and getting super into it

FULL SIZE luxe toiletries at hotels (I’m looking at you, Sofitel on Beverly)

Diet Coke tallboys

my uncle

my brother

my aunt and her partner

dogs that sleep under the covers when it gets really cold



those jackwads who protest outside of Planned Parenthoods

how I think I look vs. how I look in photos

the narcissism and wanton destruction of alcoholism

cold weather + old injured joints

Author: elizabeth dutton

i traffic in words

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