Saturday, 10 May 2008

Lucky Penny

mostly sunny, cool, temps 60

What an interesting time. We're adoring Boston. Lovely city - trees and spring flowers in bloom. Really gorgeous.

People we came to visit didn't show up. To be fair, they'd told us they wouldn't, but we thought we'd come anyway and hope. On top of that no one came to the signing at Harvard Coop last night. And my UK publicist keeps calling me by the wrong name.

These are humbling times. Funny, how you could win the Agatha one week then have the publicist get my name wrong and no one show up at an event the next. Bit of a reality check, and a bit humbling.

But, you know, this terrific young worker at the Harvard Coop - Santhi - had read The Cruelest Month and had taken the time to write an intro to me. So we sat together and she read it to me privately. It was wonderful. Then we talked and she told me all about her own dreams to be a writer, her hopes of being accepted into a MFA programme, her dream of writing a novel. We talked about poetry and belonging and character development. And then I thanked her sincerely and we left.

I think no one was meant to come. Just Santhi and Michael and me. It was a blessed 30 minutes, and reminded me yet again that I'm living not just my dream, but so many others too. And even if no one ever showed up again I'd still write. Because, really, what would I rather be doing?

And I'm sure the publicist is sincere when he assures me he doesn't know why he keeps calling me by the wrong name. I think I know why. I think I need to laugh at myself, and realise I might win awards and get lots of strokes - but there's a long way to go. And how lucky am I to even have a publicist?

And today, while waiting for people who didn't show, Michael and I read out loud to each other and talked about fears and faith, and choice and perception. And how lucky we are.

Then we went onto Newbury Street, and Filene's Basement. Bought a white sweater and a top. Then had lunch at Stephanie's (I had the Stephi Burger - perfection - Michael had the biggest Lobster Roll I've ever seen. People kept wandering by our table pointing and saying to each other, 'That looks good'.)

Then off to the Barbershop Lounge so Michael could have his hair and beard trimmed. We both had our shoes shined. I'd never sat at a barber shop and had my shoes shined, though Michael had. Marvin did it for us, and it was such fun. What a difference it makes to shoes!

More shopping after at Coply Square, and back to the hotel. Now we're relaxing and watching the Players golf tournament on TV. Out to a steak house for dinner.

You know, the other thing Michael and I talked about today was that all we can do is our best. And we leave the rest up to fate. And accept whatever is decided. The real gift is knowing how lucky we are, even when, or perhaps especially when, things don't go as we might like.

Hope you're well. We're heading back home tomorrow - not sure I'll blog. Had some thoughts about the book and can hardly wait to get home to write!


Anonymous said...

Well at least you're still a top draw in South Burlington and Colchester - who needs Boston! ;-D
More seriously though, I suspect that what you'd personally like to accomplish with your talks is to actually connect with someone in your audience, to share your experiences, and to make a lasting impression and hopefully a positive difference. In that, I think it's a lot like teaching, where the information is good, but it has to be received by the right open channel to have its fullest impact. Maybe your conversation wth Santhi was reaching the goal without the crowd to create static to impede the reception. I suspect if she's serious in her dream, you'll be long remembered for that 30 minutes, and if she read the book, she knows all she needs about the source's expertise without a crowd's validation. And who knowns, maybe she'll steer enough new readers to your work that the visit will end up being a commercial success as well.
Regardless, you win some, you lose some, but you've got to show up for them all - if it's YOUR talk and signing that is!
phil g-m

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Phil,

Thanks for your kind words and staunch support! Both mean a lot. And I agree with you - and I believe Gamache even mentions this is a book I once read - everything happens for a reason. And now I'm old enough I no longer need to know why. And - while I could have wished for the adoring crowds who clearly went to the wrong store - we've had just a wonderful time. Good to have it confirmed that my happiness and good humour really aren't dependent upon outside forces.

But you make me feel even better, Phil. Thank you.

Home today.


Kay said...

You know, I think I agree with you that it was meant to happen that way. Santhi will never forget that 30 minutes that she had with you. It will affect her life and her writing. How could it not, you being you. And...wouldn't it be wonderful if at some time later, you pick up a magazine or stop by a bookstore and there she is, with her book just published? Not that she would need to dedicate it to you or anything, but you would know. I knew her when.....

I suspect many people say to their friends or families...."I knew Louise Penny when...".

Have a good trip home. My book group members are racing through CRUELEST MONTH and loving it. More fans here in Texas.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Kay,

Well, you just make me feel wonderful too. Thank you. But if I see Santhi on Oprah and she DOESN'T mention me I'll have to write a stern letter. Still, you know, it's happened before, it'll happen again that no one shows up. It's the game, isn't it? But I am so glad to have people like you buff me up when I get dinged. Thank you, Kay. And very happy to hear about the new readers!!