June 5, 2007
Did that really happen?
I went to New York City, met nice people, had a nervous breakdown, paid $7 for a bottle of water the size of a eyedropper, got drunk in the green room, met Famous Individuals, inappropriately hugged EVERYONE ON THE PLANET, also inappropriately hugged a plastic GLOBE at the convention when I was maybe 18 sheets to the wind and finally done with all signings, made an ass of myself at public speaking gone awry, actually showed the audio guy my industrial strength Spanx, told a crowd of people about the time I used Nair on my girly parts, shook so badly at the first ten (ok, fine, twenty) (thirty) minutes of signings I appeared to have come down with Earthquake Hand Syndrome and also I disinfected a New York City taxicab with a pack of handiwipes in front of both my editor and my publicist because I am nothing if not concerned about the health and well-being of all HCI employees. I mean really now. Someone has to look out for their safety!
Then we went to the hotel which was in Times Square, Place That Had Too Many Humans, and checked in. This was the amazing view from the hotel:
And the very best part was look who came to BEA! My mom and dad and Aunt Pam! We all had dinner together and not like we are tourists or anything but I totally asked the waiter to take a picture. It was merely the tip of the "I am a dorky tourist" iceberg.
L-R: My dad and mom and Aunt Pam and me and Faith.
I am not going to lie to ya'll. I was TOTALLY FREAKING OVERWHELEMED by all this. Out of my element. Fish out of water, olive out of martini, lunatic out of asylum. I have a small, quiet day-to-day life that I love and this was as far out of my comfort zone as one could go. (Oh also I am fine with my hair now. But last week, it was... well ya'll know. I was very accustomed to hiding behind my hair. Everything about this trip was exposed. I maybe need therapy. And more wine.) Also, I will not lie and pretend to be a cool girl, about every ten minutes I said out loud which cat I was missing at that moment. Please judge silently to yourselves. But I got home late last night and all felines were well and happy and sort of mad at me. But snuggly! Where was I? Oh yes. Book Expo America:
I've known this Book Convention thing was coming for months, and I decided to do the business professional thing and email my publicist to see if I could weasel out. Or at least try to figure out what the requirements were and also, DOES THE JAVITS CENTER HAVE A BAR? Hey guess what! Turns out they do sell alcohol at the Javits Center! And I am so spreading the word because $6 screw-cap tiny bottles of wine can be a lifesaver when you are messy inside. OH!!! Do ya'll remember when I was full of fear and anxiety about knocking the whole HCI booth on top of Jack Canfield?
Well I first ran into him at the bar on Thursday night but I did NOT even spill anything on him, or knock him over, and I may have yammered on about Harper Lee or some other nonsense but he was sweet and did not call security even when I somewhat overzealously hugged him. Then informed him that is just what I do, I hug people crazylike, and since he is a World Famous Self Help Author I knew he could take it but yay me for not knocking the booth on his head. Yet. Then on Friday I accosted his head at his booth signing which was right after mine:
I am a big fan, can you tell?
And then on Saturday I may have been silently getting snockered to myself in the green room prior to OH MY GOD I HAVE TO TALK IN PUBLIC, and he and Mark Hansen walked in, disturbing the fung shui of my nervosness and started taking pictures off me to blackmail me, Future Self Help Cat Lady Who Drinks Wine Out Of Overpriced Screw Top Teensy Bottles.
Faith, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, me.
But WHATEVER. Like ya'll did not already know I like my wine. Also, my editor Allison called me right before the speaking event to say, "Laurie, whatever you do DO NOT BE YOURSELF." And we all laughed then Mr. Chicken Soup snapped another blackmailing picture. Self Help Authors are evil and cruel as it turns out and also rather funny.
I super-sucked at speaking, the audio sucked even more than I did (!!!) and I do believe I actully said to A REAL LIVE AUDIENCE, "I am so nervous ya'll and everyone keeps telling me to just breathe deeply but I cannot take deep breaths because my pants are too tight."
And my parents were in the audience. I am so being disinherited as we speak. Whatever! Made it through it! It's over and that is all that matters!
Here are my folks with my awesome editor Allison:
Then this happened:
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is beyond rockin. She showed up in the line like she was a normal person, not OH MY GOD THAT IS THE YARN HARLOT. After she left I kept pointing to her rapidly shrinking form in the crowd and saying to people in my own line, "Did you see that? She is FAMOUS. I am DYING." and people looked at me like, "This drunk cat lady person is goofy. But free book! Yay!"
The thing about the Yarn Harlot is that she is inspiring in ways that kind of exceed even YARN. She is simply herself every day, following her own individual path, and by walking it she opens doors for women in ways she may never even know. It was an honor to meet her. I held her sock. I would like to say I didn't wash the hand the shook hers but who am I kidding? I was disinfecting every eighteen minutes and showering twice a day. That includes Chicken Soup people too. I am not germy now. Come hug me!
Oh, also, I met another hero: Deb Stoller. Um, did I say I "met" her? I guess I meant to say "I left my own autographing table, ran down a hallway and literally hugged her drunkenly and told her she saved me by creating a book so perfect." And also I believe I may have said something about "center-pull balls" before they offered to get security. Whoopsy!
I took a lot of pictures and sweatily hugged folks:
Me and my folks at Friday's booth signing.
Mary was a riot, yes I use blotting papers. I am so foisting them on you next time I see you hee hee. Hi Shannon! Nice to finally meet you!!
Me and Stephanie Klose who I was so happy and excited to finally meet after two years!
The funniest part is right now someone is saying, "Oh Lord have mercy, how can you be so socially awkward and still smile in these pictures? You are a big dumbass." It is funny because the nice folks who stood in line and saw me sweating, shaking and about to fall over with overwhelemedness will tell you the truth. But it is a testament to my Southern upbringing that I can smile even when I want to hide under the booth. Although I may have accidentally almost begged the Anti-Craft gals, Renee and Zabet, to take me home, kidnapping style. It's okay though. You know why? Because I MADE IT. The only thing I wanted to do was finish it and I did. Amen sisters.
And Oh my God, the very best part was my family, my lovely crazy amazing family, they know me and love me anyway. And my dear friend Faith who endured the most stressful weekend ever, without her I would have been lost. Thank you. And I will have more family pictures tomorrow because we stayed an extra day to do sightseeing and ya'll we are funny. I am not even kidding you. We are the kinds of tourists you laugh at and point at. My family makes me feel home even when I am in a city so foreign it feels like another planet.
You know something? I could have never done this even a year ago. When you get down inside yourself after a thing, the one you trusted leaves you and you're alone for the first time maybe ever, you think nothing of yourself. You make life life small and controlled. You do what you can to be invisible. You hide. Even later when you know it's time to come outside yourself you wonder, why? Why risk it?
So some people will never know how hard it is just to get to the airport, do that one small thing, get on the airplane. And it's okay. Not everyone is the same. But somewhere out there is a woman just like me who is wondering what she did to make him leave. She wonders why even bother? Why not just give up?
And now I know you don't give up because you never know what this life holds. You just never know how much of your ownself you can be.
Last night I came home and dropped everything on the floor, I flopped spread-eagle in the middle of the rug and hugged and petted on the cats until they were annoyed. I took a long shower and poured a glass of wine. I watched Bob eat the tag off my suitcase, I kissed Roy, I told Soba her manifesto was so right for BEA (and BEA is in Los Angeles next year so look for the irritated-looking feline with the angry bestseller, I am sure.) I lint-rollered Frankie because ya'll, that damn cat is just not normal. She loves to be lint-rollered.
I am home. I love my tiny, mismatched home with its felines and Tivo. I love the smell of my house, the crazy lovely neighbors, my ugly brown carpet, my crickets at night, my space to breathe and be quiet and still. I am so glad to be home. I missed this home, the one I never thought I would be able to stand sleeping in alone. I missed it so much.
That in itself is a triumph. A small, perfect triumph.
Posted by laurie at June 5, 2007 10:37 AM