Last night was my book party. More than 70 people showed up. That is about five more than came to my wedding.
There were people my age, older people, kids, and even a few babies. There were friends from the high-end kitchen store, friends from my moms’ group, friends from PTA, friends from my neighborhood, friends from the kids’ bus stop, many people I’d never met before, and of course my family. I kept noticing my friend Rachel’s darling little girl (age 3 ½) weaving in and out of teetering book displays and searching for her friends. Her name is Katherine, and she was dressed in a black sweater, houndstooth check skirt, opaque white tights, black ballerina flats, and a crimson flower head band. She looked like a French puppet.
Everything was Virgo perfect: delicious gourmet cookies, Pinot Grigio, upbeat music, silver and clear balloons, and a sea of smiling faces. And oh, there were books! People started buying my book, and the next thing you know, they were crowding around me, standing in line waiting to meet me and have me sign their books. I felt exactly like Charlize Theron.
The owner of the bookstore started clinking her wine glass to get people’s attention. I read a chapter from my book (this one HERE). They laughed, they cried, they cheered, they took photos, a few people fainted (not really on that last part). As I was reading, a surreal thought washed through my brain: These people are paying for my words. Words. They are writing checks to the bookstore for words on a page, words from the Oxford Dictionary, words that anyone has (free) access to, but that I have rearranged and written down.
I was reading out loud (which I had practiced in my kitchen with a timer, did I mention I’m a Virgo?) and trying to make eye contact with the crowd, but I kept seeing that children’s classic book, Caps For Sale, in my mind. Except it was Words For Sale, Words For Sale, fifty cents a word!
The crowd applauded and cheered, and then I told them, “Thank you so much for coming! The book retails for $15, but as a special promotion for you tonight, it's just $20.”
The evening was absolutely perfect. Everyone went away feeling that they had a great time and got what they came to get.
Except one person.
Toward the end of the evening, adorable tiny Katherine approached me to—I thought—give me a congratualtory hug. No. She tapped insistently on my skirt and said in a mild panic,
“Excuse me, ma’am? Where is the cake?”