OK, the night is done and I’m home, listening to everyone from Poco to Carly Simon to Joe Cocker. I’m relaxed as the excitement and giddiness start to wear off. A bowl of nectarines satiates me.
This is the night that was. The true beginning to a nascent writing career. Tonight was the first of two book launches. This launch was held at Cypress restaurant in Oregon City. First, I have to speak on behalf of the owner of the restaurant and his staff who went out of their way to accommodate me and my guests. The facility was wonderful and the food outstanding and reasonably priced.
In preparation for this event, I had printed two large posters with the book cover and my photo on it. They were placed on easels at the entrance to the restaurant and the entrance to the great room. Two large boxes of books were brought in order to make sure there were enough books for everyone. My MC, Deb, brought a dais from Canby Union High School where she teaches. I had my iPod and docking station for background music. My good friend’s daughter handled sales; I had purchased a Square–a device that plugs into my iPhone allowing one to accept credit card purchases.
All I had to do was wait for the adoring masses–and they arrived. I saw people I haven’t seen in years; some brought family members. It was touching, heartwarming.
At 7:15 Deb, my MC, gave her introduction. She discussed our history from our adolescence and touched upon the vagaries of life–how you can know someone in adolescence, but life gets in the way and you later find out this person has had a life that is indescribable. She touched on my book and some of the themes. And then, she introduced me.
And I suddenly got nervous. In front of all these people I’d known for years, I felt a trickle of sweat down my back. I felt myself stumble on some words. But I made it through. I read three excerpts. And emotion once again hit–but in the weirdest spots. There was a catch in my voice, I hesitated, but I didn’t break down. I read my words about my life to these people and risked judgment and embarrassment. Even though I knew I wouldn’t get it, baring your soul to those you love can be frightening and emotionally exhausting.
I have to admit that the room was silent as I read. Occasionally I would look up and see Ruth watching intently, Liz watching intently, Barry watching intently. All listening and hanging on every word. And I felt self-conscious so I looked back down at the book. At the end, enthusiastic applause. I was done–and it wasn’t that bad. I enjoyed it. This barrier is now scaled and I can continue onward.
I cannot express the gratitude I have to everyone who showed up. This night will be remembered for the rest of my life. A new experience awaits me. I have no idea where this path will lead me, but all these lovely people were there to see me off. I feel like I’m following the yellow brick road as they wave at me. Whatever type of road I’m on, I’m jazzed to start this journey.