You guys have known me a long time now, so you know that I am VERY comfortable, wide open, and mouthy in my blog posts (which I type safely from my living room sofa). That is WRITER ME. SOCIAL ME is a much different person. SOCIAL ME takes a long time to open up and warm up to people, especially in group settings. I always end up coming off like a standoffish bitch because I’m quiet and don’t really try to put myself out there. It feels like work to me, and some days I feel lazy; other days, I just feel shy. I blame it all on my childhood. (Sorry, Mom, don’t get pissed off)! We often started at new schools, sometimes just back and forth between the same ones in West Virginia and Ohio, and let’s face it: kids are assholes. I myself was a child asshole, and I knew many child assholes, and I even gave birth to child assholes, so I can say this as a subject matter expert.
So whenever I started a new school, I would guard myself against the assholes by staying in my own little bubble. I would take my time, slowly surveying which kids were the gregarious, talkative, engaging types that seemed to have a following, and then I would avoid those kids like a fat-free Dorito. Those kids were not my peoples. The quiet, bookish, shy types that seemed to sit alone and always on the outskirts of the “popular kids” were my peoples. I would sidle up to them, and they would welcome me awkwardly into their band of misfits. With my peoples, I could be myself, but with the Other Peoples, I was the guarded, quiet tough girl that couldn’t be excluded because I wouldn’t LET myself be.
And that is the strange social standard I adopt even today, as a forty-year-old GROWN ASS woman. I don’t do it on purpose; I just go into auto-pilot. It’s as reflexive as popping a bag of Doritos into my grocery cart; it happens before I even realize it.
So what is presently forcing me to delve so deeply into my social awkwardness and dysfunction, you ask? The fact that I am in a book called I Still Just Want To Pee Alone. The fact that I want this book to do well. The fact that I want to make a teensy bit of money from this FULL TIME JOB called “blogging.” The fact that I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and now that I am, I want to write more, and publish more, and get my name out there more, and maybe, just maybe be able to look back at my life one day and instead of saying “I coulda been a contender;” I can say, “I did it my way.”
So I’m walking my socially awkward ass into boutiques with my book in hand, and I am peddling it with the gusto of Lance Armstrong with road roid rage (Ok, that would be “pedaling” but you get the point). So far, I’ve sold books to a store called Misguided Angels (they ordered five to start), and got invited to do my first signing ever at a store called Zazu. I was fucktastically nervous about this prospect but excited to challenge myself. Wanna hear how it went? (Like you have a choice).
The morning of the signing, I woke up to these sweet signs taped all over the kitchen cabinets by my husband.
The signing was scheduled for noon, but as you know, I can’t mentally take the stress of being late to anything so I planned to leave my house at 10:40. (It takes about 20 minutes to get to Zazu). By 10:30, I’d showered, eaten, coffeed, nervous-pooped several times, and I was about to leave the house. I just needed my husband, who was on a conference call, to help me take all my heavy book boxes out to the car. I set my huge, industrial sized water bottle down on the rug in my husband’s office. We took a load out to the car, and when I came back into his office, the water bottle was on its side, glug-glug-glugging gallons of water on the carpet. My husband, still on his call and having to actively listen now, was gesturing wildly like Charlie Chaplin in one of those old silent movies, pointing at the carpet, pointing at me, pointing at the water. My husband has some serious OCD tendencies, so I knew that his soul was actually being murdered by every last drop of water that trickled out. I needed to clean it up before I left, for fuck’s sake.
So I ran around in my white blouse and skirt and mopped up all the water that had leaked through the carpet to the wood floor, then somehow jimmied the wet half of the carpet over a chair so that it could air-dry. I grabbed the last box, waved goodbye to my husband (who would be meeting me there later), and I was on my way. Somewhere between my house and Zazu, I looked down at my formerly pristine white shirt and saw that it had a bunch of orange schmutz all over my boob area. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought it was Dorito dust, but I’d stayed FAR away from the big red bag that morning. What the hell could it be? I started panicking – oh no, now everyone will think I’m just a schlep who spills food all over herself before a public appearance! Which, obviously, I AM a schlep who spills food all over herself before a public appearance but I don’t want anyone to THINK I AM. It’s a very complicated emotion.
Oh, well, I was NOT GOING TO BE LATE, so I just brushed it off, grinding it in deeper, and decided I would ignore anyone who looked too long at my chest area. They should keep their eyes off my bodacious ta-tas anyway!
At Zazu, they were SO NICE to me! Chrissy, the store manager, had a table and chair set up over a pretty rug right at the entrance, and just chatting with her and the staff members made me take a deep breath and relax. Having read my blog and Facebook page, Chrissy got me a gift from the store that she knew I’d love! These awesome socks.
Every time someone walked into the store, Chrissy would usher them my way and tell them all about me. The job that I was dreading the most – SELLING myself – was being done FOR me! Hallelujah! I did chat with people from there and ended up selling three books to strangers but mostly I sold to a bunch of my wonderful, sweet, supportive neighbors, friends, and family members . . .
This last picture was taken just before I sat back down in my chair to finish signing some books and BROKE the damn thing and FELL ON MY ASS! Ok, I didn’t fall all the way to the floor, but the chair was blocking me from the floor. I’m just glad I didn’t fall all the way down on my back, legs akimbo and scrambling around like an upside-down beetle. I turned BEET red, and then begged and pleaded with my face to stop blushing and get over it.
That was a low point, but the rest of the day was great, and by the end of two hours, I’d sold FIFTY books! Whaaaaat?! I owe a big thanks to everyone who came out, and to Zazu for having me there as well as for buying some books themselves for Mother’s Day gifts for their employees!
With my first book signing under my belt, I have started reaching out to local wineries (with the help of a very sweet and well-connected friend who’s in a band called Sweetnova) and setting up book signings AND READINGS. Yes, you read that correctly. I am opening up my little shy mouth and READING all my ridonkulousness before a live studio audience.
I’m also reading in the Listen To Your Mother show that I auditioned for in February – the audition was a cluster fuck, as you may recall, but I made it anyway! I’m really, really, really, really nervous. Have I mentioned that I’m nervous? I recently attended a rehearsal for the show, heard all the other writers’ stories, bawled and laughed my face off, and felt honored to be a part of something this magical. Sales from the show benefit a charity called My Sister’s Place, which provides services to empower women and mothers who’ve been victims of domestic violence.
The dates and times and places are as follows – if any of you are in the area, please come by and watch me nervous poop myself.
- April 19th, 2-4 p.m. – 8 Chains North Winery, Waterford, Virginia
- May 3rd, 2 p.m. – Listen To Your Mother, Washington, DC ($18/ticket)
- May 10th, 2-5 p.m. – Creek’s Edge Winery, Lovettsville, Virginia
As always, your support and love of the Big Top is taken to heart. Thanks, peeps!
If you want to buy a signed copy of I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, look over yonder in the right-hand sidebar, click Buy Now, and I will sign it just for you and send it out myself! If you want it unsigned from Amazon, that link’s there too!
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