Recently, I was at the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Convention. I got my red cowboy boots (I'm calling this my Vintage Beaded Sweater and Red Cowboy Boots Tour) and a slinky black dress, and along with Algonquin's fantastic publicist and escort, Megan Fishmann (pictured below), I had an absolute blast. Algonquin made me this fabulous introductory printout that you can see at the top of the page (Pictures of Me), and I got to sign books, mingle with authors at an author dinner, sip wine at a cocktail party with booksellers, and do an author's feast, where at every course, I change tables and talk. Megan was fantastic and so much fun and she made everything so easy. I was escorted at the Author's Feast by Megan and by bookseller Charlie Boswell, who took me under his wing. And I got to hear this moving speech by this bookseller who is retiring to go work for the Peace Corps. He cried. The booksellers cried. I didn't know him, but the speech was so moving, I cried.
So besides having a blast, I started musing about what it means for authors to go out into the world, and in talking with a friend, I realized it has a lot to do with feeling seen. So much of what writers do is alone, in a room, and if anxiety were fuel, we could power the planet. But when we come into the open, having that appreciation, being able to be a public author, is astonishing. Being able to talk with a lot of booksellers is astonishing. (I told them I wanted to court them, buy them presents, give them my ring and marry them, because they help authors--and readers--so very much.)