Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Phoenix, sunny, temps 78
5am - wide awake
6am - shower
7am - watching local TV shows - they show a live picture of Washington, and people arriving for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. And I'm in tears. Already. Indeed, I'm crying writing this. I wonder why I'm so emotional, so soon. But I think I know why.
Later, the tears might be for joy, but I think right now my early morning tears are relief. Relief that day has broken, after a very long night.
8:45am - a stunningly beautiful day here in Phoenix. Palm trees, pool, fantastic hotel room right by the pool. Had a lovely email from Hope Dellon, my US editor with St Martin's Minotaur, congratulating me on having the launch of A RULE AGAINST MURDER on this Inauguration day.
Funny, but for all I love this book and for all that it took a year of my life to write - it suddenly pales compared to what this day really means. But lovely to have the two events forever linked, if only in my mind.
Watching President Bush and President- elect Obama getting into the limo at the White House. 9:10am - all these smiling people - beaming - who are members of the cabinet and others who will hold high positions. To see their faces as they emerge onto the stage and see the crowds - their eyes widen, they smile - many say 'wow'. Hardened, probably many cynical - left in awe. 9:25am - the Clintons have just been introduced.
9:30 - the children are being introduced. Oh, dear - now I really wish I hadn't had all the coffee! Very poor planning. Those children are so beautiful.
9:40 - just put the 'do not disturb' on the door. Hate to have a vacuum going now!
I miss Michael - wish we were together for this. But you know, I know we're together in every important way in this moment.
Together first with Michael - but also with everyone I love and like and even dislike - and everyone I know, and have never met. Around the world.
9:49 - Obama introduced. Have burst into tears. (Me, not him).
9:55 - Pastor Rick Warren giving invocation. I have so many gay friends I so struggled with this one, but finally came to understand what Golda Meir meant when she said, 'a hero is someone who turns an enemy into a friend.' What a beautiful invocation - by Golda Meir and by Rick Warren.
Dear God, I'm crying again. Will be dehydrated at this rate.
10:05 - wow, look at the look of joy on the face of Yo-Yo Ma. Does it get more heavenly than this? This man transports himself, and me.
10:09 - President Obama.
10:30am - I can't speak. Why speak? Not a time for the head - but the heart and spirit. What would we do when the levees break? Run forward to help, run away? Take people in or lock the door?
10:32 - Elizabeth Alexander - words matter - wonderful poem.
10:35am - benediction. Perfect. Beautiful.
10:45am - throughout the morning a couple has been in the hot tube by the pool. Smooching. Newlyweds, I imagine. Note to self: do not use that hot tub.
10:55am - just finished the TV interview with KAZ tv and hosts Lou and Tonya. Great interview - very fun hosts - but who was watching? Honestly. Oh well. Still, it was fun.
11:20am - now sitting on the terrace outside my room on this huge double lounger. Inauguration on tv on one side - smooching couple on the other. Beautifully hot out here! So glad I didn't mix my bags up after all! Not in a bathing suit (wouldn't want to scare the horses) but am wearing a very light flannel. Kidding. Am in a light cotton nightdress. Not kidding. Reading the NY Times. Bliss. So glad to be here on this day.
1pm - just heard a commentator say of Barack Obama, here's the new President. Took me aback. Like being introduced after my wedding as Michael's wife. Felt good and right.
1:01 - Senator Kennedy seems to have been taken ill. Very worrisome
1:24pm - they're reviewing some marching bands now. My God, Michelle Obama's beautiful. Great dress too.
1:35pm - Obama's in his new car now. I suddenly felt as though I'd also been Inaugurated. I feel very excited - but also very calm at my centre. Perhaps because I finally feel as though we're all in good hands.
2:10pm - he's out of the car and I'm crying again. I wonder if I'll ever stop? But I can't help worrying that Michelle must be freeeezing!
3pm - actually have had to get clothes on. A sundress! Yay. Turned off the TV and am meeting Lee from Poisoned Pen who's driving me to the first event of my day - a talk at the Tempe Library.
9:15pm - back in the hotel room after an eventful (literally) day. Did the library then had dinner with Lesa, Patti, Kay and Barbara - then did the event at Poisoned Pen. It was recorded and is up on YouTube - will give you the address tomorrow.
Must call Michael. It's almost midnight back in Montreal.
What a great day. President Obama and A Rule Against Murder - both launched.

Sweet dreams.


Lesa said...

Louise, it was a beautiful day, from start to finish. And, I'm so glad to have shared a little of the evening with you, and friends.

Your summary of your day, and President Obama's was wonderful President Barack Obama. It feels so good to write that after eight long years. Like you, I feel as if we're in good hands. And, it was so nice to read about someone else's tears. I felt absolutely bloated with tears, and I'm sitting here at 2:10 in the morning writing this. Just too wound up.

I'm looking forward to your appearance at Velma Teague on Wednesday. It will be nice to get a chance to hug you once more before you head back home.

Good luck with A Rule Against Murder.

Anonymous said...


I too cried watching the inauguration festivities! Loved the description of your day and your reactions.

I put in my order for A Rule Against Murder at 6:36 a.m. yesterday! I'll probably have it read in about a week and then will have to wait months (a year?) for your next one:(

Sigh. But congratulations on your new release!!

Cece said...

You are in one of my two favorite places in the world. I envy you! It is lovely to read a Canadian's viewpoint of yesterday. I do hope that we can, as a nation, rebuild some of the bridges that have been weakened and destroyed. I am feeling hopeful and optimistic too, but I worry so for him. How patient will the world be when he stumbles-which he will-when so many are seeing him as the miracle-worker? It is going to require so much patience and sacrifice and generosity. I hope we have it in us.

hilary said...

Dear Louise,

A happy inaugural day for your book -- and appropriate, For, if Barack Obama is anything, he is a mighty wielder of the word. Whatever he does, or does not do, in the future, he has the ability -- with words -- to invoke the spirit of a nation. Winston Churchill took a tiny country, imperiled by a brute force, to victory on the strength of his rhetoric -- proving the pen can be mightier than the sword.

Barack appears in every way to be dealing with sincerity and good intention. Let his words lead the way to a better, more peaceful and co-operative world.

Bobbie said...

Louise, thank you for sharing a very special day for us with our new president...I also had tears, then would clap, then would just stand silently, in such awe at this transfer of power done so well, and with such class and a great speech and everything he did, and with his wife who was also great to watch. I believe inside myself that it was a world day--the whole world watched, and hoped...and will go on hoping now, with us. And we will work, it will take a long while, and it sure is not going to be easy; but with this type of inspiration and leadership, things might get better.

And it's wonderful to know that you also were appreciating it and watching it. Thanks for sharing that.

Now...Launch your book here, in USA, and have a grand time doing that! Celebrate great writing!! I just finished it, bought it from a Canadian bookseller last October at the Magna Mystery conference...and it's honest to goodness, a WOW. I don't often re-read, but some books are good enough for that...and your Murder Stone (in USA called A Rule Against Murder), has gone to my small but special re-read shelf. It's that good. Ok, I am biased, have loved them all, ever since they first came out; and enjoyed meeting you at Magna...but even without being biased...this book is a keeper.

Soooo many great lines, I used so many paper arrow-markers so could talk about it with my friend who was reading it with me--and we spent a long lunch today, talking about this book and saying how it's so good on so many different aspects--that our table had gorgeous colorful confetti-look after we got done and had laid the markers on the table. :-)

You are a special lady, and this is a special book. Thank you for being you, and for writing such grand books!

Jovanna said...

As an American, I have become accustomed over the last 8 years to living with deep shame. I think it is going to take some time before I stop reflexively apologizing to my international friends or trying to pretend I'm Canadian, despite my Louisiana accent. It took me quite a while to realize what that strange feeling I kept experiencing yesterday was. Pride. In my county. Wow.

Bobbie said...

Jovanna, your words touch me, because they say exactly my own feelings.

I remember saying to a friend, on the Inauguration Day who was phoning me and talking about all this, that I had for the first time in many years felt proud and maybe could stop apologizing to my international friends or using my automatic "I'm from here and am embarrassed". I think that's why the whole world was watching, they feel we got it done and maybe are going to be America again--in the right way...and now, we are finally able to stand up and feel pride--the right kind of pride. I remember saying several times, to friends, after the election, that I feel something small and tiny but haven't felt it for so long...hope. Not huge, not for sure, but it's there, finally, some hope.

Great to know there are more of us in the USA, and in the world. Thank you.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hello Lesa and Sharon and Cece and Hilary and Bobbie and Jovanna -

I've just stepped through the door from Phoenix - home at last. And it feels as though you all feel the same way, on a larger scale. You too are 'home at last'.

Congratulations on an electrifying event. And thank you for so generously sharing it with the rest of us. You have reason for pride, and all of us have reason for hope. And even if he fails, at least you all (and he) tried.

I came home to these beautiful comments - thank you. I feel the world has become a community.