Friday, November 13, 2009

Book Reading Recap

So I've got my first book reading/signing under my belt. I'm home from the Chicago book trip for P.S. What I Didn't Say, and I am SO GLAD I decided to go. I will remember it for the rest of my life, I am sure, and not just because my toddler welcomed me home with a two-hour-long raging tantrum IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT last night. Ahem. I refuse to discuss that hellishness any further. I will now pretend it did not occur, and I will also pretend that I have gotten more than nine hours of sleep total in the last three nights. Please help me out by supporting this delusion for the rest of the day. Thank you.

So anyway! Remember how my awesome BFF from Texas flew into Chicago to join me on this book reading adventure? As you might imagine, this made the whole trip about a hundred million times better, and I was in tears on the flight home missing her and touched by her amazing act of friendship. V. is a private person, not the type to blog or Twitter or Facebook or post photos of herself to the Internet, which is why I'm not writing her full name or including here the adorable picture of the two of us at the bookstore (though V., if you're reading this and it doesn't bother you, let me know). All you really need to know is that we landed within two minutes of each other; spent the next hour walking aimlessly around the giant metropolis that is O'Hare with our cell phones to our ears trying to find each other at Rental Car, saying things like, "I'm by baggage claim and there are numbers on the pillars, where are you?" and "I'm at baggage claim too, but there are no numbers on my pillars" and "OK, now I'm outside and I've just crossed 8 lanes of traffic and am standing on a median by a sign that says Rental Car Shuttles" and "I'm outside too, but there's no sign and all I see is a Hilton across four more lanes of traffic," and ultimately realized we'd landed at different terminals (who knew?) and were roughly a hundred miles from one another. I may exaggerate slightly.

In the end, we DID find one another, find a shuttle bus to the rental car lot, get a car, drive successfully into the city, check into a lovely old hotel on the Gold Coast (with a room heater that ultimately kept us up all night with its insane level of noise), eat a ridiculously large lunch at 3 p.m., pull ourselves together enough to not look like we'd been walking around O'Hare all afternoon, and drive up Lake Shore Drive seeing the sights (my old stomping grounds! my apartment from 1995-2000! my old running route!) on our way to the great bookstore hosting the reading.

At the hotel, ready to leave for the reading, Wednesday night

The Book Cellar, Lincoln Square, Chicago: the location for our event

The reading itself was awesome. It was so much fun to meet Megan, the book's talented editor, and the three other writers participating in the Chicago reading. There are some amazing writers in this book, people! If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy yet, DO IT NOW. You will not be disappointed. The essays are so diverse--some funny, some poignant, some riveting, some dramatic, some incredibly sweet--and the three ladies reading with me on Wednesday showcased some great work.

Me with lovely editor Megan McMorris and talented
Anna Cox, Judy Sutton Taylor, and Margaret Littman

The bookstore ended up being standing-room-only, and a good friend of mine and Christopher's, who moved to Chicago last spring, attended to support me (thanks, Lisa! It was so great to see you!). I was only a tiny bit nervous, and the subject of my essay did NOT show up to heckle me, so I basically just had a rollicking good time and tried my best to, as several wonderful friends urged before I left town, smile, soak it all in, and fully enjoy the moment. Who knows? I may never be lucky enough to do a book reading again! I wanted to appreciate it 100%.

And I did. It was wonderful. I'm so proud of this book. Please read it, buy it for your sisters, moms, and friends for Christmas, pass it around, enjoy the tales of friendship within.

There's the book! On the left!

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me in my first foray into book publication (especially Christopher for letting me go, V. for coming along, and Christopher's mom for helping take care of the girls while I was gone). I hope there will be more to come, but even if there aren't, I've accomplished a life-goal and experienced a personal dream.


Donna said...

Thanks so much for sharing! You should be proud of yourself - what an accomplishment! I'm sure it was amazing to meet and chat with the other authors.

Did you end up reading the whole essay or just an excerpt? If it was an excerpt, I'm curious as to which part you chose to highlight (I love getting the 'artist's' perspective!!).

Congratulations again!!

Glad you got in some good girl-time with V. Nothing like girlfriend time. Nothing.

BTW, love the dress!

Shan said...

We got to read our entire essays, which was awesome (for the audience, too). I think Anna may have cut out a few lines here and there from hers to keep to the time limit, but still read the full narrative of her piece. I think the rest of us were able to fit in every line.

As for the dress, a Kohl's sale two springs ago. ;)

Mary S. said...

Congratulations, Shannon. It sounds like great fun. (And, Christopher was right in his blog post, you loved fabulous!) Is the book at the Carleton or St. Olaf bookstores, or Monkey See, Monkey Read -- I'd like to buy a copy.

Shan said...

Thank you, Mary S.! I do not know if the book is currently at those bookstores, BUT Jerry at Monkey See would be more than happy to order you a copy.

Mnmom said...

YEAH! for you for going and soaking it in!!! Girls will get over it - kids like to punish Moms for leaving them even for one second.

Congratulations!!! I just can't say that enough.