Yesterday, I told a little story. About book day. A 99% fictional story. And I was amazed at how many of you were fooled! And I know I promised that I would tell you all about what really happened, but I will stick to one highlight. (Or lowlight.) Sister C did take me shopping on Tuesday to find something to wear for my reading. Everything did not fit perfectly and look fabulous. But C did find one thing and when I saw it, I knew immediately that we had found it.
My book jacket.
I tried it on. And fell in love. And then I bought it. And, as rain started to pour down, I walked a few blocks to see my books in the window of the Borders at which I would read. And then I got stuck on a corner for forty minutes in torrential rain. Waiting for a taxi to take me home to my little girls. And that shopping bag? It got soaked. And that beautiful book jacket? It dropped through the bottom of the bag.
But that blazer survived. And so did I.
Tuesday was an extraordinary and ordinary day. One I will never forget.
And last night was my reading. I donned that bejeweled blazer. And I headed back to Borders. And I was so scared and so excited. And I did it. I stood up in my front of a packed house of friends and family. And I said a few words. And then I read from my book. And then there were questions. And conversation. And laughter. And then I signed books. Many of them.
I am a bit too close to last night to extract the metaphorical meaning I know it has. So today I will keep it simple. I will leave you with some images and words from my night. A night I will always remember. A night I will forever see as the beginning.
Sister C and I leave to head to Borders. Husband hangs back to snap away.
I take a moment to study the window display.
Husband insists I pose by this display too.
Reading over my notes upstairs in the Borders "green room."
Hands shaking, I begin reading these words:
Thanks to all of you for coming to my very first reading for my very first book. In moments like this, when I hear myself say, my very first book, it strikes me and maybe you too? as a bit presumptuous as it implies there might someday be another. The truth is I am such a big, bad bundle of Ivy League insecurities that I embrace my moments of confidence, however foolish, however fleeting, when they arrive. And this is one. Im not sure Im supposed to say this aloud, but Im not a fan of 'supposed to.' The truth? Its my sincere hope is that this the first of many books, that my life after Life After Yes contains many more stories. Written. Lived. Read from.
Hey, Im allowed to dream, right?
Yes. I am. We all are. Once upon a time, there was a rookie bride who was also a rookie lawyer. Just back from her honeymoon, she sat in her air-conditioned office high above the city that raised her along with her beloved parents. She twirled in her desk chair. Clicked her pen. And, awash in a sea of doubts and documents, she hatched an improvident dream. She decided she wanted to leave, to walk away from her prudent pinstriped existence, and write a book. She decided to jump.
And, five years and two little girls later, she landed. In a good place.
She landed here.
Dreams. Prudence. That is what Life After Yes is all about. Its about a girl a girl who let me assure you is not me, a girl who is decidedly more naughty than I am- who has a dream. A dream that haunts her and humbles her. Its about a girl who stumbles through days stuffed with realistic love and profound loss. A girl who is both allergic to and addicted to Prudence. Its about the un-fairy tale that is life in this murky modern world.
And before I read you this dream, Quinns dream, hazy with meaning, I will read you the three quotes I started my book with, one home-grown and the other two spoken by brilliant and revered souls.
First: It is never prudent to start a novel with a dream. No, it is clichéd; a telltale sign of amateur craft. Who said this? Everyone. I wrote my novel in my own little wonderful bubble of naivete and made two monster rookie mistakes. First, I built the entire story around a song I love: Dear Prudence. Do you know how hard it is to secure permissions for Beatles lyrics? I do now. And so does my lawyer. Second, I started my story with a dream only to learn that was a big no-no. A literary red flag. I learned this, panicked, and shifted things around. Buried the dream in the middle of the book. But then. Guess what? Late in the game, I said screw prudence. I am an amateur. I am a cliché. The dream is important. It must be up front. And so it is. Its where it belongs.
Because guess what? And this is the second quote and Samuel Johnsons gem, not mine: Prudence is an attitude that keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy.
And finally: Carl Sandburg said this and I hold these words dear, personally and professionally: Nothing happens unless first a dream.
And so Quinns story begins with a dream. And here it is...
I pick up my book and read Quinn's dream. The beginning of her story.
And then the real fun begins. The thoughtful questions and clumsy answers. The unvarnished bit. And, like always, I alternate between serious Aidan...
... and silly Aidan.
I look at this picture and realize something. I am happy. And humbled. And proud.
I sign books. So many books. I write the names of people I know and love. Inside each book, I jot a tiny sentence: Say yes. And scribble ADR because I love my name, but it is very very long.
Many of us head out to celebrate. We keep a certain bartender very busy.
I stay out way past my bedtime. In my sparkly book jacket. Sipping. Smiling. Savoring the beginning.
And this morning, this sweet morning after, I am back here. At home. My very favorite place.
Thanks so much to all of you who came out to support me and celebrate with me last night. And thanks to all of you who come here every day to support me and celebrate with me.
Want to read Quinn's dream?