Best part of my very first author night? Well, actually having it happen, of course. But also, reconnecting with one of my best friends in the world.
No, she's not the one in the photo. That's Kim, who is the owner of Ugly Dog Books, and the person who decided to make Pictures of You the featured book of the month at the store. The book signing was a great experience, and Kim reported back to me at the end of the night that it went really well, too, from her perspective.
Good. I'm glad, because my goal had always been to promote the second book signing on May 10 a bit heavier. I was using Friday's event as a test, to see how things went. One piece of advice that she gave me--that I pass on to other authors--is toi mingle with the patrons, rather than sticking yourself behind a table. Shake hands, talk up the book. It makes for a livelier event.
The hour flew by. There were folks I knew, like Corb of course (who kindly took photos) and Josie, as well as theater friends (one of who shared with me a delicious piece of gossip. It was better than key lime pie!) I tested Kim's advice on some of the patrons I didn't know (and made a few sales as a result), and also got to catch up with some old friends who I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't been at the book signing. It really was the best of both worlds.
The best was seeing my old friend Joyce, who was the first person I made friends with my freshman year of high school and someone who has always been in my life since then. Oh, we've had some periods where we don't speak for months at a time, but we always reconnect and the friendship is always as strong as it was...and that's not something you can say about everyone in your life.
I can honestly say Joyce has been a huge influence in my writing style. She has a great sense of humor and an uncanny knack for the absurd. In fact, everything I wrote in my first few years of high school were with her in mind. And then, when I was ready to step out and have other people see my stuff (I wrote two plays that were performed in high school on stage, one of which won an award from The Boston Globe), Joyce was still the first person to read it, and also, someone who had a sharp sense of what needed to be reworked or edited. To this day, when I write something ridiculous, I often channel her (yes, SHE's to blame).
More than just the inspiration, though, has been the friendship. If I had a dime for every hour we spent on the phone laughing over silly things in high school and college I would be a rich man! Of course, back in those days, ours phones were chained to the walls by plastic cords and the emails we would send each other were crafted from paper and ink. Primative times, but of course, the one advantage is, I still have many of those letters to this day.
A lot of times, Joyce would read my stories and plays in high school and criticize them by writing under the pen name of Melvin A . Padoodle, my alleged therapist. So naturally, when she brought her copy of Pictures of You over to me on Friday night, I asked her whether I should it should be addressed to Melvin.
"That quack?" she replied. "No, make this one out to ME."
After the signing was done, we invited Joycey to go out with us for dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, and then invited her over to hang at Green Victoria. Of course, that visit stretched to around one in the morning.
"I like having Joyce around," Corb said as we were going to bed that night. "You two laugh like you are still in high school."
Yeah. I like that feeling, too. It's good to have friends who know you from way back when. I am blessed to have quite a few of them.
"Some friendships are meant to last a lifetime," I wrote in Pictures of You. I know exactly who I was referring to when I wrote that, too.