Alright, so Michael Pockley and I had our joint book launch and art exhibition last Saturday, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we were living in alternate realities for the 5 hours or so that it lasted.
I blame Zako for hypnotizing me with these eyes:
So here is Michael’s book launch: His guests sipped of the selection of fine wines set out on the table for the connoisseurs of the finer things in life. He read a lovely excerpt from his book and gave an engaging speech. He took part in in lively discussions with the director of his school and the editor of the Prague Post, who will personally review his book – whoo hoo! Oh, yeah :o) He sold several of his paintings and sold out of his books. He left sparkly-eyed and happy.
Here is my book launch: I was on emergency call for work that day, so from about noon to 4:30pm I was working. Then this hits me: “Oh, freak, in an hour I’m going to have to get up and talk in front of people! I need liquid fortification!”
So I open the Croatian liquor my friend Kristyna gave me.
Fumes drift out of it. I’m thinking gasoline.
I pour some.
Okay, so it’s gross, and it’s like 95% alcohol or whatever, but I’m going to be speaking in front of people.
Glug, glug, it goes, splashing into my glass.
I have two glasses of it (I’m guessing about four shots total? Maybe three?).
Can’t take it anymore – tongue’s going to go up in flames if I get near fire, and I can’t have that today. I need something sweeter, so I set the gasoline in the kitchen and go rooting about in the liquor supply Kristyna had lugged to Locus (the venue of the book launch) the day before. I unearth walnut liquor (Magistr, whose motto is “It awakens your senses” – yup, there you go, just what I need – awaken those senses, baby!).
I get two glasses into that, too, before Michael convinces me that the ‘walnut aroma’ in the senses-awakening liquor is not the way to go and that wine is better.
So I have a glass of wine.
By now people are arriving. I unsuccessfully try to hide in the storage closet with the liquor, potato chips and suitcases. I’m obviously not drunk enough. Someone somehow gets me into the kitchen. I can’t imagine that my legs walked there of their own volition, because the speech will begin at 6pm, which is in one minute!
Philip magically appears before me. I tell him I need courage. He makes me three screwdrivers with lots of Vodka – maybe six shots? Five? Less? Hard to tell.
I down them in under two minutes.
Michael calls me to stand before everyone with him.
I climb the stairs and lean on the railing and look down while he’s speaking and soon I find myself reading this from my book:
“No! Gads, Felevia, I’m not a pervert. Why do you think I stopped talking? I would never—”
“Take advantage of a girl chained to your bed, even if it was the girl of your dreams?”
“I would never chain you to my bed.”
And there’s utter silence, and I’m thinking, “Why did I let my friends pick which page number they wanted me to read from?”
Michael swoops in then and closes the speech and then it’s time for me to descend from my spot of shame. I turn and look down the stairs and the world lurches and dang, how the heck am I going to get down those stairs when they’re all swaying like that? If they would only stay still… for a moment…
I grab the railing, thinking, “Dang, Intoxication, you late!”
Darn swaying stairs.
But somehow I make it down them and then I discover that I’m supposed to sign books, only by now the three or four Croatian gasolines, the sense-awakening magistrs, the glass of wine and the four or five vodkas have all decided to assert their dominance at once.
This is vaguely what I remember from the rest of the evening:
Signing books while drunk out of my mind.
Writing ‘daya’ on one and crossing it out, writing ‘daya’ again right after the first daya and having to cross that one out, too. Finally writing ‘days’ and thinking maybe it’s not so good that it took me three tries to write it.
Writing ‘to my lovlely beta reader’ on another. I didn’t even bother to cross that one out, deeming it close enough to the real word to pass as acceptable.
Telling everyone collectively how much I love them and how glad I am that they come to the writers group meetings.
Having a friendly argument with a girl about who has the hairier arms (I do; hers weren’t hairy at all).
Making jokes that seemed witty at the time.
Missing out on the bonbons and sandwiches and scarfing down *nearly* an entire bag of potato chips by myself.
Only drinking water the rest of the evening, but still being drunk 8 hours later when at home and standing on a wobbling chair trying to shove my suitcase into the storage place above the entrance hallway.
Somewhere in there I also remember chasing my runaway suitcase in the metro.
So yeah, I made a typical mess of things. Lost opportunities perhaps and made a cake of myself.
But you know what happened this morning?
I was looking at the print copies of both my published books sitting on my planner, and the strangest feeling washed over me.
For the first time, I thought, “I’m published. I have two printed books out there for sale, out in the big, bad world. I wrote these books, edited them, got them out there, and they’re actually published.”
I know, I know, I’ve been published for a while, but it never really hit me until the moment when I took my freaky-huge 600 page book into my hands this morning and it was just suddenly real. All of it.
And, you know, that little bit of awesome makes the world look really perfect today.