Meeting Armistead Maupin

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One of my heroes:  Armistead Maupin

Long, long ago when I was a college sophomore in the small town of Hays, Kansas, a friend of mine sent me the Tales of the City collection of books.  I was at first shocked by what I read, but that quickly turned to fascination as I worked my way through the books and learned about the quirky lives of the people who lived in Maupin’s San Francisco.

When I came to this city a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to reread the series and relive the magic.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was thrilled all over again to observe the unveiling of Mrs. Madrigal’s secrets,  the details of DeeDee Halycion’s travels, and the joy and pain of Mary Ann’s rocketing career.  Since I now live in this city, I can actually picture the places mentioned in the books.

After many years, Armistead Maupin has written yet another book about the lives of all of these characters as they work, live, love, and struggle through their now “golden age” in San Francisco.  It’s called Mary Ann in Autumn, and I’m hooked and can’t put the book down.

A couple of days ago I went to his book signing and had my picture taken with him.  I’ve been to many book signings in the past and heard several authors speak about their work; it’s kind of a hobby for me.  But I sometimes find myself staring at the people in the audience with true hero worship in their eyes and wondering what it was about the author that stirred such strong emotion.  Needless to say, I think that Maupin’s book signing helped me to understand.  I was the one in the audience with blatant hero worship written all over my face.  His books meant so much to the young, twenty-something me who felt trapped in Western Kansas.  Basically, he gave me hope that there was life out there for people who were a little different or even quirky.  When I went up to get my book signed, I had to fight back my tears a little bit.  I can honestly say that I have met one of my heroes in life. 

It has been said that Tales of the City is the West Coast’s answer to New York’s “Sex in the City.”  It does have a way of bringing San Francisco into the lives and hearts of anyone who reads the series.

Cheers!

Mike

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