In the summer of last year, I immediately became obsessed with the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black upon viewing the first episode. Therefore, I was a sloppy ball of fangirl nonsense last night when I went to DePauw University to hear/see Piper Kerman, author of the book of the same name, but with the subtitle: My Year in a Women's Prison.
She was my two favorite things--smart and funny--as she told the story about drifting after college, entering an exciting affair, and ultimately carrying drug money over international borders...once. The result was a fifteen-month sentence (reduced to 13 for good behavior), giving Piper experience within the corrupt U. S. penal system, and a surprising look into the sense of community that emerges particularly in prisons for women.
The series is based on the book, but diverges in a number of ways; however, according to the author herself, both have the same spirit. You get stories of women who are incarcerated for very different reasons, and their backgrounds often set them up to enter prison and, in many cases, through a seemingly revolving door.
Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of her entry into prison, and since she was released in March of 2006, she has become an advocate for reform in the prison system, particularly in the stunningly cruel, damaging and unnecessary use of solitary confinement.
I figured the book signing would be the typical deal where you're rushed through with just a "hi" across a table, so I was really pleased to see when I finally made my way to the front of the line that she was standing next to a tall, circular small-in diameter-table on which she could sign, making her accessible for an actual eye-to-eye conversation. I walked up and she shook my hand. As I introduced myself, she said, "Oh! I know you from Twitter, right?" We'd had a few exchanges before, and she has favorited* a handful of my tweets, but I had no expectation that she would recognize me from there. I mentioned my work which is associated with her book, and she was genuinely excited to talk about that. So, I was super stoked when she signed my books, AND chatted me up, AND hugged me, y'all! It was really cool of her to spend that much time with everyone after the event, which was two hours including the Q and A period.
Not sure how to close, other than to say that I'm in fangirl heaven. Feeling very...well...
*Sorry. I hate made-up social media words. Whatteryagonnado?