For the three of you left who haven’t heard the news, last week I got to pretend for one night that I was a successful writer.
And it was great.
Some friends had thought it would be fun to invite a bunch of people to come hear me read some of my work in hopes of maybe introducing some new readers to my blog. And plus, it was an excuse to get a bunch of women together to drink wine. Who’s not up for that?
So, they invited a bunch of their friends and about 50 women showed up at a local cheese shop for an event that was billed as “Wine & Words With Amy;” two of my favorite things, all in one room. We stood around and drank some wine and noshed on snacks and then I got up and spoke a little and read a few selections from my blog and then we drank a little bit more.
But of course, not everything was perfect. There were a few glitches and things I’d do differently if I ever had the opportunity again to do something akin to it. Herewith, the top five things I learned at my inaugural reading:
- It’s all about the party hair. Of course, when a girl like me is faced with the prospect of getting up in front of a group of people to speak, she immediately worries about how she’s going to look. What to say comes second. So, before I knew exactly what I was going to read and then say in between to tie them all together, I had purchased not one but two dresses from Anthropologie and booked an appointment to have my hair blown out by my guy, who helped me channel my inner-Kelly Ripa and gave me mad party hair for the night. Unfortunately, I also probably should have thought about my failing eyesight and had the same foresight to pack a pair of reading glasses for the night so I didn’t have to hold the paper I was reading from about three inches from my face, thus blocking said party hair for much of the night. Sigh.
- Expect things to go wrong: Exhibit A. My two daughters were amazing helpers in the day leading up to the event. The older girl helped shlep stuff into the cheese shop and set up and helped do my eye makeup because she knows I am terrible at that. And my younger daughter helped cobble together a platform for me to perch a stool on and had tracked down a tripod to set up our camera to record the event. Yet despite her best efforts – charging the camera and digging up a memory card – once she started filming she discovered the card was full and had to quickly come up with a Plan B. So the resulting videos are kind of cobbled together – because of course her phone died and my other daughter had to pick up where she left off – and not shot from the best of angles. Like, I may have a “Basic Instinct” moment or two, somewhere along the way. Just don’t look down there.
- Expect things to go wrong: Exhibit B. After we unloaded all the junk – like the sound system and platform – from our car, I gave one of my girls the keys and told her to go park while we set up. And at some point, I did notice that she’d been gone for a really long time, but was too caught up in the prep and people arriving to really investigate her absence. The girls quickly packed up and left after the reading part was over, and I lingered and then went out to celebrate with some friends. So it wasn’t until the next morning that I discovered the reason for my daughter’s delay in returning from parking the car: she had sideswiped another car in the parking lot, requiring police and subsequent calls from my insurance company. “I didn’t want to ruin your night,” my girl told me, and she was totally right making that call. “I couldn’t sleep all night,” she added, “I felt so sick about it.” And I knew she felt terrible and we’ll figure out how to pay the deductible and I will ignore how ghetto my car is starting to look because, well, what are my options?
- I am an attention whore. I kind of already knew this about myself. I mean, I do have a blog and write about a lot of pretty personal things. And I’m a Leo, so being in the limelight is something I just enjoy. But I haven’t always loved getting up and speaking in public, so was kind of worried about that going into the reading. Right before I got up to talk, the owner of the cheese shop gave me some last-minute words of advice about successful public speaking. “Know your subject and be passionate about it,” he told me, and I was like, “Done and done.” I love to talk about myself. So in the end, it was kind of exhilarating and something I could do every night. Methinks I’ve created a monster.
- Surround yourself with friends. So, in theory, the event was supposed to be all about introducing new readers to my blog, it turned out to be a show of support from all my friends who already read the thing. And that felt great. So of course, it was easy getting up in front of big group of friendly and familiar faces who only want to see me succeed. Plus a lot of them enjoy all my cursing. “You say what we’re all thinking,” one woman told me after the reading, and maybe that’s why it’s so easy to do what I do. Because we’re all going through the same shit.
Many thanks to all of you who came out and to the many people who told me they wished they could have come. Perhaps we’ll do it again some day because we always need a reason to get out and drink wine.
In the meantime, check out some videos from the night.