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DON’T BE AN OAF- WORDS TO LIVE BY

I like to tell on myself. It clears my conscience and I don’t have to sneak around trying to cover up whatever sin I may have committed. Now that NOWHERE GIRL is out in the big, wide world of bookstores, I am crazy busy with events, readings, TV appearances and newspaper interviews. Lord knows those are perfect places to rack up saying and doing stupid things.

Here they go…

My first event was to be on a TV show called CONNECTICUT STYLE. Oh- the irony. For someone whose office is her couch and work clothes consist of feetie pajamas, I was the odd man out. This was my second time on the show, so it was going considerably better than the first. Right up until the host asked me a question I didn’t have a good answer for. I explained myself the best I could, but apparently she wanted more. I didn’t have anything brilliant to say about how I wrote about twins even though I am not one (I don’t even have a sister). I started to sweat (literally, and I’m a smelly sweat-er), and blurted out something I really hadn’t planned on telling the world. Good news- it stunned poor Jocelyn into silence. Bad news, it was an awkward silence.

After the segment was over, I asked someone to take my picture with the still-mortified Jocelyn. Unaware that the studio was almost silent and people were talking in whispers, I very loudly said, “WOULD YOU PLEASE TAKE OUR PICTURE?” only to hear someone yell, “Cut!” and then have fifteen grumpy people glare at me. Oops- they were on air.

After slinking out of WTNH’s station, I got myself together to do my first bookstore appearance in Madison, the town I grew up in. My dear friend, Paulette, offered to provide drinks and desserts for the event. She laid out a beautiful set up of fruit, chocolate, eclairs & waters. She constructed gift bags with her realty company’s (WILLIAM PITT/SOTHEYBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY) logo on them. You see, Paulette is the best realtor around and also a lovely person. In defense of me and my stupidity, speaking at RJ Julia is a little like playing Woodstock. It doesn’t get any better. I was so star struck that I was weepy when I got behind the podium. Everything I wanted to say, including thanking Paulette for providing the goodies flew right out of my mind. But, don’t worry, I thanked her profusely at the launch party… about twenty minutes after she had left.

Next came an interview for THE DAY NEWSPAPER with the very funny and talented Rick Koster. Rick and I spent some time together on the phone when my last book was released, and he made me feel like I was talking to an old friend. My kids are pretty awesome and I’m very comfortable with Rick, so I didn’t think twice about multi-tasking and speaking with him while I was driving the little people to the barn. Settle down- it was hands-free blue tooth. My kids now know who offed poor Savannah in NOWHERE GIRL as they were sitting in the backseat getting an earful. We pulled into the barn and I told the kids to go in and I’d come in when I got off the phone. Rick and I were having a lovely conversation about books and music, lots and lots of music, when Ainsley came running out yelling that Cooper smashed his face and was crying. I asked Rick to hang on a second, ran inside, and with him still on the line, discovered that Cooper, who never cries when he’s hurt, was sobbing and had broken his tooth. Uh Rick? I gotta go. Click. An emergency phone call to the dentist, photographic proof of the accident and forty-five minutes later, I did call Rick back. Despite our fragmented conversations and several emails that had everything to do with music and very little to do with the book, Rick still managed to write a fabulous article. I don’t know where he got his information- I was of very little help to him.

Okay, moving on. What was my next flub? Oh yes- the launch party. Taking place at a hip and funky art gallery and with nearly two-hundred people coming out to celebrate, it was a smashing success. We sold a ton of books, stayed at the gallery an hour longer than we were supposed to (and magically did not overstay our welcome), and then walked down the street to the fabled Gris and closed the bar. They actually herded us out the door with mops in hand. And before that, I stood in front of all the revelers and made an impromptu speech about how fortunate I am to do what I love and then I thanked everyone for coming (some from as far away as Florida). I made sure to thank the lovely and talented Suzanne Kingsbury for being the world’s best editor. I forgot to thank her at the last launch party. So, I made sure I got it in this time… after she left. I think she might have gone splitsville with Paulette. So, I thanked two people who weren’t there any longer, but I forgot my parents, Kurt’s parents, Sue the bookseller and my amazing friend Cathy whose company donated an entire living room set among many other pieces of furniture so people would have a place to take a load off. CRAP! I have a whole new respect for those NASCAR drivers. They never miss a beat every weekend when they say how well the “KFC, Coca-Cola, Tide Detergent, Black and Decker, Tampax, Skittles, Summer’s Eve, Preparation H number 99 car” did. I need to take notes.

This morning I was at FOX 61’s TV station waiting to go on air with the beautiful Erika Arias of GOOD DAY CONNECTICUT. This was my second go around with her and she’s so lovely that I wasn’t nervous at all. I met a dog named Cutie Patootie, learned a little something about the Irish sport of hurling and read the extremely flattering article Rick Koster had written. I emailed him to say thank you and told him what I was doing, adding that I hoped I wouldn’t be an oaf this time. He graciously responded saying I’d be great and gave me simple yet powerful advice. “Don’t be an oaf.”

I never was good at following directions.

The interview actually went well. I didn’t stumble with my answers and I mentioned Keanu Reeves- any day I get to talk about him is a good one. My friend, Sarah, who is a Fox journalist watched the interview and immediately texted when it was over saying I was funny and relaxed. All was good. A super nice crew member unhooked my mic and said that he respects what I do. I humbly said my job is easy compared to his. I could never keep it together long enough to work under the pressure of being on live TV every day. Everything was great. I was having a good hair day, my outfit was cute, I didn’t barf on anyone. And then…

And then I turned to say goodbye to Erika and there she was, exactly in the spot she’d interviewed me- beautiful, long dark hair, skinny and wearing a black dress. As the words, “Thank you so much for having me, Erika” were coming out of my mouth, my brain was screaming at me to stop. Abort! Abort! Something’s not right! But, I couldn’t stop myself. Would you believe me if I told you there were two beautiful, skinny women with long dark hair in black dresses in the studio? And I thanked the wrong one.

I was so close to taking Rick’s advice. But I just had to be an oaf.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll be at Mohegan Sun Casino with one of my favorite bookstores ever, Bank Square Books and the wonderful Otis Library to do a luncheon, reading and discussion. I really like Annie, Kate and Elissa, the women who run these events and I don’t want to screw up in front of them. But given my track record… I wonder what kind of oafery I will commit. Who knows- maybe this will turn into a weekly installment of all the stupid things I say and do.

On the bright side, it’ll give me something to blog about. I’ve been quiet far too long.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Stacie Seidman March 8, 2016, 3:38 pm

    Interacting with humans is hard. I applaud you for making the effort! And the launch party was wonderful; thanks so much for including me!

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