Around 3PM, we picked up a friend and fellow author with ATTM Press, whom we had invited to the event to help us man our book table and also sell his own books and represent our shared subsidy press. I was thrilled to meet the author of a book I admire, Widow's Walk, in person, and I was not disappointed. Ken Weene is a wonderful person. We all had lunch and talked about the event.
I hadn't heard my phone ring that morning, and so when I saw a message was left from the literary director of Luminaria, I figured it would be a general "good luck" call or some such thing. Instead, the message said that as of that morning, the committee was informed that no authors or artists could sell anything at Luminaria. There wasn't the right licensing in place. We had forty books, between mine and Ken's, ready to take with us, and it was inconceivable that wouldn't take at least a few to the event and set up. If we couldn't sell them, we thought, maybe we could raffle them off or even give a copy or two away.
I broke the news to Ken, who had traveled from Arizona to sell his book at this event, and who was heartbroken but very kind about the whole thing. In the midst of all this, my precious dog cut his lip and was continuously scratching at it and irritating it. So, as I tried to put a cone around his neck, to keep him from scratching, I bent over. His sad face captured my gaze, and my maternal sense took over because, as I got up from attaching the well-intended tortuous thing, I hit my head on an open cabinet, hard!
Aside from the egged car, couple dozen or so books that I couldn't sell, and huge bump on my forehead, I noticed that my throat was getting sore, and that I was incredibly tired for so early in the day. Nonetheless, Chris (my husband), Ken and I decided to make the most of this thing. We headed out for Luminaria.
Reportedly, 200,000 people were there. It took us half an hour to get off the exit ramp we needed to get to our parking space. This was OK, we had good conversations in the car. Then, when we arrived at Luminaria, we figured out that of the 200,000 people that were there, many of them were left over from a San Antonio St. Patrick's Day parade that took place at noon and were really drunk. There were people bumping into each other everywhere, and although many stages were set up outside, I got flashbacks to my clubbing days and felt a bit out of place.
When I found my stage, there was no table, nowhere at all, in fact, for me to sit and relax. Moreover, I had been pushed back from my time slot of 10PM to 10:50PM, which meant I would be the last act. A wavering man I didn't know almost ran into me as I stood outside the venue, watching another act. There was some phenomenal art to look at, I admit, but this man was incredibly drunk and he kept running into me and Chris. When Chris asked him to leave, he got closer. He had brought his own liquor, he said, because regular beer wasn't strong enough. Ken and I agreed we would write about the annoying man in some manner, and he, in turn, said he was a writer and that he had been laid off from his unemployment (???).
I felt downright feverish by the time of my reading, had been yelled at by a stage manager to get out of the dressing room before it was my turn (she seemed tired), then had to sit there and wait with her for the ten minutes or so prep-time I had before my reading. She also informed me that I had been pushed back because I missed the dress rehearsal (didn't I get the email they sent? No!)
Once at the podium, everything was wonderful, except for the fact that almost everyone had left and there was an incredibly loud Mariachi band playing just outside the venue and I couldn't hear myself read. The good news is, this didn't relate to the audience (reportedly). And, quite a few people expressed interest in the book that I couldn't sell them.
So, my first big reading is over, and I have to say that although I'm not usually an optimist, I can guarantee, they only get better from here :)
What a day!!! Now, I'm sick, so I'm going to go rest.
Here's a sample from what I read:
Throughout the summer of 2003 I repeatedly underwent what psychologists have since diagnosed as post-traumatic stress and panic disorder. A spiritually-inclined friend refers to the same summer as my rebirthing period. Still others, who claim to have had similar experiences, tell me that such episodes were probably a warning, my body’s way of telling me to adopt healthier eating habits, exercise more or quit smoking. At the time, all I knew was that the onset was swift.