“I remember one year my friend Carpenter and I had books out on the same day. We talked about it all summer. We each had modest expectations. I had modest expectations for his book; he had modest expectations for mine . . . Finally the big day arrived and I woke up happy, embarrassed in advance by all the praise and attention that would be forthcoming. I made coffee and practiced digging my toe in the dirt . . . Then I waited for the phone to ring. The phone did not know its part. It sat there silent as death with a head cold. By noon the noise of it not ringing began to wear badly on my nerves. Luckily, though, by noon it was time for the first beer of the day. I sat by the phone like a loyal dog, waiting for it to ring. Finally, finally it rang at four. I picked up the phone and heard Carpenter laughing hysterically, like some serial killer, and then I became hysterical, and eventually we both had to be sedated.”
(c) Anne LamottI usually post this excerpt from Bird by Bird on my website on pub (publication) date. Yes, it’s a little disingenuous. Several people have wished me a happy pub date on Facebook and, like my friend/wardrobe interventionist Lizzie Skurnick, I consider FB greetings sweet and lovely. (David Plotz does not agree.) I was on the Diane Rehm Show and the Marc Steiner show yesterday, WJZ this morning; I have a joint interview with Alafair Burkeat 1 p.m. (Inside joke for Alafair: I have a phoner in a couple of minutes. It’s an interview, on the telephone. With a major media outlet. I’ll probably do it on my iPhone.)
I think there are two more interviews scheduled for this week alone. There have been a lot of reviews. As I joked on Facebook, they are not unlike the reviews for Treme: Lots of love, some conditional love, one hater (so far), comparisons to previous work, and I’ll-tell-you-when-you’re-a-genius-missy. It’s all good. In this day and age, it’s an honor to be reviewed at all, so let’s give a shout-out to Sharyn Rosenblum, publicist extraordinaire.I am going to single out one, not because it’s the biggest rave, but because it was sent to me by someone I barely know, who certainly didn’t know I was having a bad day. To my correspondent: Such kindness will be rewarded.
Plus, there was the pizza party, which I am going to declare an unqualified success. My only regret? I didn’t get to taste the Most Dangerous Pizza, which has Nutella and figs.
Years ago, I compared touring to something called The Naked Dance, a delightfully unselfconscious jig performed by a child for whom I babysat. Except adults are never unselfconscious, alas. Sixteen novels, one novella and a book of short stories later, I’m not impervious to reviews, but I’ve gained a lot of perspective, especially in the past year. It’s a gorgeous day in Baltimore. We have terrific house guests in Jon and Ruth Jordan. (How terrific? Jon fixed a leak in the shower and Ruth wants to cook dinner, but I’m insisting that we go to a restaurant after tonight’s signing.) Like Candide, first I will cultivate my garden, then I’m going to enjoy the day. And order the boots that Lizzie told me to order. Turns out that I have a royalty check from Akashic Books that will cover the boots and leave me enough money to treat the Jordans to lunch!
Today’s give-away is the beautiful Esskay tin pictured above because — coming to this blog is like finding out how the sausage is made. Did I promise the cap, too?
Turns out Mr. Lippman is awfully keen to keep it. Say anything you want in the comments, but I’ll kick it off with a question: What do you think about the boots? No, seriously — what’s everyone reading? Tell the truth!