Posted February 17, 2012 by
I arrived home from New York yesterday afternoon, haggard and harried. In case you’re wondering if any of this book tour stuff is going to my head, rest assured that being a pregnant mom keeps me quite humbled, exhausted, and often too covered in vomit to get wrapped up in swank hotels and room service.
Originally I was supposed to take this trip alone — two nights in the city for a reading and party. But at the last minute I thought it would be fun if Greg and Vera came along, and with some skymile finangling we were able to make it possible. However, it turns out that a two-day whirlwind coast-to-coast trip isn’t the best idea for a toddler. Two six hour flights in 48 hours, coupled with multiple cab rides, dizzying hotel views and a three-hour time change was just a bit much for the poor kid, and in turn, for me & Greg. Did I mention the vomit? Oh, so much of it.
However, all of that, at least for me, was worth the amazing reading I had on Wednesday night at the upper west side Barnes & Noble. The reading was scheduled for 7pm and when I arrived at 6:30 I was shocked to see that more than half of the generous amounts of seats were already full. And not only were they full, but they were full with strangers! I had just assumed that everyone who would be there that night would consist of friends I’d invited, so to see so many people I didn’t know was surprising and totally nerve-wracking.
It was a great reading though. I took a minute in a back room to think about what I wanted to say and I went over the passage I planned to read and then I did it — I walked out on to the stage (stage!) and talked about and read from my book. I was much less nervous than my book soup reading and I read one hundred times better this time too – partly because my cough was gone and partly because I think the experience of recording the audio book really taught me how to read from my book.
Either way, I was proud of pulling it off as well as I did. Public speaking has never been something I’m wildly comfortable with but I’m trying to get better. It was really a great experience. My all-time favorite teacher, Joan Dulchin, the woman I credit with teaching me how to write memoir, was there with some of her students and I was so happy to be able to really pay homage to her and everything she gave to me during my years with her at the New School. And so many of my friends were there too and it just made me so happy to see them all in the audience. Over all I heard there were about 80 people in attendance.
(Me with some friends, including author Krissy Gasbarre. This photo would be perfect if Vera weren’t picking her nose.)
Right as I finished up with the Q&A (wow, so many questions!), Vera yelled “Mama!” and ran up on the stage and it was the sweetest moment. After that I signed books and books and had the nicest (and briefest) little moments and conversations with everyone who waited patiently in line. We headed downtown to the hotel bar for celebratory cocktails afterwards with everyone and then stayed up all night with a sick Vera, getting 2 hours of sleep before heading to the airport early the next morning. Like I said, having a kid ensures that none of this is going to my head.
Now I’m back to my life and back to trying to strike a seemingly impossible balance between just living normally and presently and also keeping up with book publicity and trying not to obsess over how the book is doing. Thank you again for all of your incredible emails and notes and photos. I’m a little behind in my responses, but know that I’ve read every one and each time I just swell with gratitude.
A couple of things:
Check out this cool interview with me in Interview Magazine: Claire Bidwell Smith’s Literary Inheritance