I was incredibly flattered and honored to receive a phone call from the public library in my old hometown. The librarian said that my Aunt Becky told her I published a book, and asked if I would be interested in doing a book signing! She must not have known that I still had the library book “Harriet the Spy” and wasn't ever plan on returning it.
I was thrilled to say YES, and only hoped that at least four or five people I knew would make time on a June summer evening (a Tuesday at that) to come and see an author who deserted the town over 30 years ago leaving a trail of dust, stolen library books and teachers shaking their heads in dismay.
I had months to prepare my heart for the signing and decided to delay signings here in my own town so that I could have my first one there. I was excited to be around familiar faces when I shared my first official book.
As the day grew near, however, my stomach filled with fear. What if no one came? What if no one remembered me, or if they did remember me what if they didn’t give a damn? What if I made the library regret ever calling me? What if I stood in front of an empty room? I was finding a million things to worry about, and my common sense was conspicuously missing.
My good friend Sharon (who provided me a safe haven last August when I was homeless!) arrived the day before the signing and tried her best to remind me that while it WAS a small town and it WAS a weeknight that there would be at least a handful of friends there and they would all be thrilled to hear me share my story. We enjoyed MORE than several cocktails that evening reminiscing about our glory days. She reminded me that we used to launch lunch trays out the third story cafeteria window each day in 8th grade, and that we hemmed our candy striper uniforms with tape because our mothers refused to do it for us. Apparently we used to sneak out of our candy striper duties and change clothes to walk to the stadium to watch the football team practice. We used to steal Richard Keirn’s lunch and write on his shirt. And when I say we I might mean me.
Oh my God I was Frank…in a dress.
The laughing and imbibing certainly took my mind off my worries and the hangover the next day sealed the deal. I slept as long as I could, reviewed my “speech” and took special care getting ready. I also kept a running list of who I thought might be coming to the library and decided that whatever happened would be fine.
Ray, looking incredibly handsome in a black suit, picked me up and loaded the books in the trunk. Fortunately I was distracted for the 45-minute drive by a huge argument I was having with Golden Boy, Sassy and The One Who Shall Not Be Named. Those details I’ll save for another day, but let’s just say that this divorce better happen soon or I will surely lose my ever-loving mind.
Ray pulled into the parking lot, parked the car and looked into my eyes. “Honey, I know that this will be a great evening- and that you will be amazing.”
I squeezed his hand and smiled. I took a deep breath, “Thanks, honey! Now..... let’s get this show on the road!”
Part Two tomorrow…..