Valerie is my good luck charm. She has been at every reading I’ve ever given; either in my pocket or on the podium right next to me. If I’m in a play, I carry her onstage in my purse. She was with me when I walked across the stage to collect my MFA, tied into the sleeve of my graduation gown. Nothing goes wrong when Valerie’s around. I carried her on my wedding day and even brought her on my honeymoon!
I got her on a museum trip when I was eight, along with a small Dilophosaurus. I forget their original names, but they were re-discovered in a box when my mom moved, and I couldn’t bear to part with them like so many Pikachus. I renamed them for Geena Davis & Jeff Goldblum’s characters in Earth Girls Are Easy, and later, gave Mac to my friend Matthew in grad school. (They have a little reunion whenever we get together). It was one one of these trips that I bought a third dinosaur, a stegosaurus named Ralph (in homage to Jurassic Park).
Dinosaurs are kind of a thing for Matthew and I; whenever we go to a conference, the first thing we check out is whether or not there’s a museum around. We’ve been to cheesy dinosaur parks in Connecticut and The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. We like to explore the cities hosting us, and dinosaurs dioramas are always fun to look at.
If you’re at a reading or event with me, ask for your picture with Valerie and post it on Twitter with the hashtag #ValerieSelfie. I promise to retweet!