Monday, September 10, 2007

Lift Off


A rainy night and a city full of visiting APEC delegates couldn’t keep a warm and very lovely audience away from Shearers bookstore and (hoopla!) the launch of my book!

(Actually it did keep some folk away but that just meant MORE WINE for the rest of us.)

C and I (with Tricky in tow) arrived to find one window full of pastel blue books, each featuring a pair of thin white legs kicking away in a jaunty Dildo-Cam Be Damned manner.

“Ooh look,” said C excitedly as we walked through the door.
“ Mmm yes,” I said, and swallowed back a tiny bit of sick.

Cunningly, part of the bookshop seemed to have been custom built for launches and/or hellfire sermons to the Quivering Brethren (ala Uncle Amos of Cold Comfort Farm fame). In one corner, looming over the masses was a pulpit type contraption that featured a microphone and quite possibly a glow in the dark crucifix.

From here ABC Radio’s James Valentine peered down at the audience, thumped his fist a couple of times and launched the book in true JV style- a blend of the very arch, the very funny and the slightly perplexed, with occasional use of the word “speculum”, whilst I skulked ‘back stage’ deep breathing and pondering the fate of all those books I could see stacked up behind the pulpit.

When it was my turn I wobbled out my thank you speech and then read my Amusing Snippet for the crowd. Proper writers must be very tall people I have decided. I spent most of the reading on my tippee toes so I could actually see over the top of the pulpit. A great many warm and friendly faces smiled back when I did so, including three Naughty Nephews who had shot their arms immediately into the air when James asked if anyone in the audience knew that they appeared in the book.

After this, I did that book signing malarky. What an odd thing. Firstly because I was herded through the shop, sat down at a little table and lent a pen (because of course I didn’t have one on me. Pen? What? Why? Oh.) and secondly because people then lined before me in an orderly manner clutching my book.

Looking down the line all I could see were multiple pairs of kicking white legs. It was like some strangely surreal cancan number.

And then the signing thing. What does one write? And why hadn’t I thought properly about this before. Which page should I pick? And on it went… in the first moments, people presented their books to me, people I knew and loved and still I stared at them blankly until they gently reminded me of their names.
Even then, I was a mess. “Suzie….?” I gulped, as if this was the most bizarre and extraordinary name I had ever come across… “is that um with an ‘s’?”
This, with a woman I am friends with, I have shared playwriting prizes with, attended theatre workshops with, exchanged numerous emails with - all beginning (remarkably enough) with the words “Dear Suzie….”

I blame it on the bright lights. And the sicky in the stomach feeling. Also the wine, even though I didn’t drink anything other than water till all Writerly Duties were complete.
And this week I do it all again, in Newcastle. At least this time I’ll know to have a pen.
PS I fear that there is No Launch For Melboune. I KNOW! Outrageous! Will confirm this with Powers That Be but in my heart I know this to be the case...

10 comments:

granny p said...

Hey, hey. Brilliant..Hope you sold lots. As for Melbourne...they always were a toffee-nosed lot there, didn't know anything was worth looking at unless it had a mane and tail...

calliope said...

hurrah!!! So proud/excited for you.
Hope the powers that be can send you to the US sometime soon.
xo

LL said...

wha... wha.. WHAT????!!!!????
Damn those Powers That Be - arseholes! (it's not because of that old sydney/melbourne rivalry thing is it?)

Congrats on the launch...

Anonymous said...

How truly exciting! Congrats!

lucky#2

Nico said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are amazing. I feel cool just for reading your blog these past years. I can't wait to get my sticky little paws on a copy of your book!

shalini akhil said...

don't tempt me - though how nice would it be to have that martini at your melbourne launch? should we start a petition or something??

sorenson said...

So glad the sydney launch went well!

So disappointed there won't be one for Melbourne...

OvaGirl said...

well i asked the powers that be today and they're looking into it. (i don't think it's an anti melb thing though, more a cost and distance thing, they are based in sydney, but then again, I don't know...maybe you only get one big launch, like a birthday. Having said that Tricky got three first birthdays...)

shalini's mention of martinis has totally uPPed the stakes as far as i am concerned, will report back asap.

steph said...

Congratulations- I hope the next signings/launches go well for you!

laura said...

Simply amazing. A book signing! And more to come! I imagine, if I were to be in your situation, blanking on a few names would be the minimum of my mess ups. I'm sure it went fabulously!