We forgot to mention the name of this column
Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017
Here’s a little tip to those of you would-be writers out there from your Aunty Pam: when you begin the promotional book tour for the release of your debut novel and find yourself happily chatting about it on morning television, maybe mention its name.
“How’d it look?” I asked Paul upon arriving home two hours later.
“I thought your hair looked really good,” he began, always a bad sign.
“Nothing that half a bottle of White Rain can’t hold in place in the rain,” I replied, “But what about the interview? Did I get all the points in when Jack asked me what it was about?”
“Oh, sure,” he answered, sincerely. “You described the main character very well, and the dynamics of her family. I even liked how you pointed out that there’s not enough contemporary women’s fiction that focuses on older female characters, so you were inspired to write one.”
“Okay, good,” I said, cheerfully, banging kitchen cabinets open and closed as I searched for a brillo pad to begin removing the layers of camera-ready make up I had slathered on my face. It’s amazing how much is required, really, to prevent people from asking, kindly, after watching an appearance, “Honey, do you feel well? You might want to have some blood work done.”
Paul cleared his throat as he began cutting neat slices of cheese for the sandwich he was making. “Just one small detail. Not a big deal, but you might want to jot it down for the future.”
“You forgot to mention the actual title of the book.”
As much as I’d like to assign blame elsewhere, as much as I’d like to gather myself up and proclaim, stoutly, “That’s not my fault, it’s the Georgia public school system,” or use the excuse that I had arrived late at the studio, in a bit of a panic, because I had been flagged somewhere around Lake Cooley to take an exceedingly long detour around a broken water main on the regular route with absolutely no detour signs to follow.
I mean, have you any idea how much pressure it is to be the first in the line of a procession of cars trying to find your way around an unmarked detour route through the countryside, the snake of traffic following, all assuming that you know where the hell you’re going? Let’s just say they were not happy when I had to make a three point turn in somebody’s driveway when I missed the turn off.
At any rate, I have to own that regardless of excuses, while the cover of my book was shown on the screen, I managed to never mention it. That really is a sugar-frosted special kind of stupid.
There are interviews and press features to follow and now I’ve created an easy to access, bite-sized chunk of anxiety that is bound to pop up for these as well. I’m convinced that I will forget again, or worse, far worse, draw a complete blank, as I did in my early days of performing stand up, about 30 minutes into my set, casually rolling along in front of a great crowd, only to have the ‘Lost in Space’ robot warning pinging through my brain, “Danger! Danger, Pam Stone! What is the next joke? What is the segue to get to the topic?” There would be an alternating hot and cold chill that would run down my spine, clamminess beneath my armpits, the audience suddenly appearing as though I was filming them through some sort of Stanley Kubrick fisheye lens, and then, with a moment to spare, the joke would appear on my tongue, the audience none the wiser.
There’s only so many nights one can handle that sort of fear, especially when the clubs all operated a cash bar.
And so when this book tour is finished in the next few weeks, I think I’m going to take up something far less terrifying, far less nerve wracking.