Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Wandering Down a New Road

Charlotte Pence discusses the journey of a book tour with a growing family

August 2, 2012 Charlotte Pence, a Chapter 16 contributor who received her Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Tennessee, has been busy lately. In the past year, she has published two award-winning chapbooks and a collection of essays , and this summer she embarked on a book tour of California with her husband, Adam Prince. (Prince read from his new book of short stories, The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men, and Pence read from her newest chapbook, The Branches, the Axe, the Missing. The kicker: this joint tour also included the couple’s newborn daughter. Pence recently wrote about the experience in an essay for Her Circle.

Pence describes the feelings that accompanied this new journey, writing, “As we tried to shove in yet one more plastic must-have, we couldn’t help feeling a combination of defeat and pride. Defeat in the sense we couldn’t ‘just go’ anymore, but pride that we were trying anyway.” She goes on to describe the adjustments they had to make while their new daughter with them during an already hectic tour schedule. The following excerpt describes a situation in which Pence and Prince are trying to figure out how best to take care of the baby during each other’s speaking and reading engagements:

“So, we spent at least two hours figuring out the minute-by-minute breakdown of who would do what as if we were trying to pull off some magnificent bank heist. Warning to the reader: this stuff is banal, so feel free to skip it. But it’s this ‘stuff’ that makes carrying a cute little drool-machine tricky. The reading was at 7:00, so I planned on nursing at the hotel room right before we arrived. Adam would watch her while I read, but I had to finish reading by 7:30—which was her bedtime. If she is kept up past her bedtime, fits are thrown, so I planned to take her outside and stroll her in the neighborhood until Adam finished reading. Still, we knew. Something (or someone) always changed our best-laid plans.”

To read the rest of Pence’s essay from Her Circle, click here.