Friday June 3rd. The alarm clock goes off on this all-important day and the song on the radio is Natalie Merchant’s “Thank You”. I immediately start to cry because this song is incredibly significant to me. During my early thirties I was very single and very lonely. I spent a lot of time with my parents, appreciating them as adults. My mother bought me a guitar and I tried to teach myself to play. I always said I was going to learn “Thank You” and was going to sing it to my parents at my wedding. Every time it came on the radio, I tried to practice but always wound up bawling my eyes out. The amount of sacrifices and concessions my parents made for me and my sisters, the unconditional love they always showed me just made me emotional- it still does. So, to wake up to this song on this day- well, it set the tone for the day. A tone of love, support, achievement, family and friendship that will stay with me forever.
We had the morning workshop which was fun and collaborative and oh-so-helpful. I went to lunch at a great buffet place where I recognized a gentleman from the workshop. I didn’t know his name so I chose to sit alone. The man left before me and I saw his Writer’s Hotel bag on the chair. I wanted to holler after him but had a mouthful of food and couldn’t get it out. I simply picked up the bag and figured I could get it to him better than if I left it there.
The bag and the man, whose name was Greg; were reunited and I earned myself a Long Island Iced Tea as a reward. Woop! I hit the alcohol pretty hard before my reading. Vocal chords were loose and ready to wow the crowd. But I am ahead of myself.
My longtime childhood friend, Stacy, drove into the city to spend time with me and come to the reading. I was so very excited and flattered and thankful for her. She hung out with me while I got ready, helped with jewelry selections and to keep me calm. She brought me cigarettes which I do not indulge in 90% of the time. I am a stress smoker and a social smoker. So…cigarettes were a very appropriate addition to this week. Hair was done (frizzier than desired but still done), makeup flawless, Spanx in place, new shoes surprisingly comfortable on my feet and we headed downtown.
Unfortunately it was rush hour and cabs were hard to come by. We saw a virile young man on a rickshaw and thought that would be fun. We asked him how much it costs and he responded 2x. We still didn’t understand him. We got in anyway and proceeded to laugh our asses off. He went WAY faster than we had intended. My hair was all over, I had a handful of near death experiences. Stacy took video. The guy did a 360 in the middle of 6th avenue to show off and proceeded to pop a tire. We were half way to our destination and our timeline did not account for having to walk. I was nervous but once again, Stacy kept me laughing. The guy told us we were in his rickshaw for 7 minutes and it was $5 a minute. Ex-squeeze me??? He wanted $35 to go basically one mile. We haggled to no avail.
Half laughing, half pissed-we got another cab quickly and made it to KGB Bar which wasn’t even open. I texted my sister…she was across the street having dinner.
We went across the street to see my posse. The posse consisted of my sister Elizabeth, my niece Jillian, my Aunt Marie and of course, my husband Brian who moved mountains to be there for this night. Everyone looked great. Everyone was proud of me. It had been so long since I had a moment like this. Not since I brought home my adopted daughter 5 years prior had I felt such overwhelming love, support and simple JOY.
I wasn’t even nervous. I really wasn’t.
I was very pleased with the piece I had selected to read. It had nothing to do with the Vestals or Rome as history. It was just a piece I was really proud of.
A great crowd of supporters from the Writers Hotel was there and of course, so was Scott. He was my new friend. He is one of the Senior Editors of the Writers Hotel. He feels strongly about my novel. He thinks I can do something special with it. A cheerleader in a suspense thriller writer’s body. He is also the most constructive critic I have ever spoken with.
I sucked down 2 Long Island Teas and Scott got up to introduce me. Here we go….