So this is pretty fantastic:
Yesterday afternoon, I was preparing to teach the first day of a new book in my big lecture class (we started it today). And so I popped over to the author's website. It says that she lives in this particular half of my state.
Huh, I thought. I wonder if she's nearby?
A White Pages search revealed that yes, she is very nearby! Like a 15-minute drive away!
So I wrote her an email, which I had to revise about 35 times to make it sound sufficiently respectful and not pushy; I wound up with something like, "I would love to invite you to speak to my class next year, when I teach the book again. (I realize that it's probably far too late to invite you for this year, but, if you're free in the next week and a half, we would love to have you.)"
Yes, I went for the cowardly parenthetical. I almost added another parenthetical explaining and apologizing for the first parenthetical, but I stopped myself. Thankfully. Hyper-self-conscious meta-writing is sorta my thing, but sometimes it just isn't appropriate.
And she wrote back! And asked for dates and times!
And now she's coming to my class next Wednesday!
How cool is that? Bonus cool: That's one less day I have to prep! Plus my TA is lecturing on Monday! So basically I'm done lecturing for the semester, a whole week early!!