Friday, 4 December 2009


Partly cloudy, mild, temps 5

We're home!!! Wow, when we left last Sunday it felt like we'd nmever make it...just so much to do in 5 days...but it all worked out so well. Indeed, nicely organized and timed. We had a travel day, then a work day, then a travel day and then a work day etc. And not being terrified of flying (just of speaking to 800 people) helps.

When they first asked me to do the Arts and Lectures event I said no. And debated whether to tell them the truth. That the idea terrified me. Made me sweat just imagining it. I decided to tell the truth and the two Susan's (the producers of the series) were so sympathetic and understanding, and comforting...telling me it doesn't feel like that many, and everyone is kind. So I agreed.

Then grew more and more fearful as the event approached.

Happily, 20 minutes before going on, Susan put me into the 'green' room by myself. It's a library! I immediately felt myself relax. I realize I respond very strongly to scents. And this place smelled of books. I could feel my tearing heart calm. And I could breathe deeply and start to relax and the scream in my head became a howl, become a moan and finally became just a whimper. And I could start to think straight.

Said a couple prayers. Thought a bit about what I wanted to say...then it was time to go on.

Amazing feeling to be backstage, in the darkness, but see through the crack of the curtain Susan at the podium, bright lights on her, doing the introduction. And seeing the faces. Fortunately, I could only really see the first few rows. But so many tickets had been sold they had to put seating on the stage, so there were tiers of people on either side.

And then to be introduced, take a deep breath, and walk through the curtains.

Honestly? It feels like falling off a cliff. Just opening my arms (figuratively) and doing what seems inconceivable. Walking out there.

But the Susan's were right. Everyone was very warm. I was quite nervous at first, then it receded, but about ten minutes into a 50 minute speech it came pounding back, like being blindsided. I don't know if any of you get panic attacks. I do. Not often, that God, anymore. But I still can. And speaking engagements are often a trigger.

I could feel it up there - the sudden light-headedness - becoming twitchy - having trouble breaking. But I know enough to realize a few deep breaths will solve it, so that's what I did - and it worked. Could feel my heart calm again.

And the rest was actually fun. Wonderful audience in Rochester. Very attentive and responsive. I didn't ever feel they were bored, or restless or being anything other than supportive.

We had about a ten minute question and answer at the end. Then it was over.

A year of worry, over.

Boy, does that feel great. But you know what feels the best? Standing in the dark, looking through the curtains, hearing my name....and doing the inconceivable by walking out there. Actually doing what scared me so much.

I feel good about that. And deeply grateful to my Higher Power for putting me in a library where I could inhale books. And grateful to the susans for insisting, and to the audience at the Arts and Lectures series for being so warm.

Finally met my publisher's mother in law, Esther. She came for the event, as did Donna and a few others...Maddie. Peoiple I'd never met, but have corresponded with.

This morning at 6am the two Susan's came by the hotel, picked us up and took us to the airport. Quick 40 minute flight )JetBlue -yay!!) to NYC, then another 40 minute flight (jetble - yay) to Burlington. Our friend Wilder picked us up - in our BMW - trying to get as much use squeezed out of it before we turn it in.

And now we're home!!!! Our friend Susan is arriving tomorrow - staying with us, then Sunday she and I will head off to Burlington again...for a girl's weekend of shopping, eating, yakking - and I have a couple of events too.

Then nothing until the new year. Yipppeee!!!!

Big exhale. Home.


Marjorie said...


With your broadcasting experience and all of the many book appearances that you have done, I am amazed that you still have such a hard time with an event like the one in Rochester. I am very glad that it all turned out well, but I am very sorry that it cost so much in terms of worry and stress.

(And since I am saving up for B'con 2010 in San Francisco, you just have to come to another big event! We all promise to behave.)

Welcome home,
Marjorie from Connecticut

whalewatcher said...

"You must do the one thing you think you cannot"
Eleanor Roosevelt

Congratulations! on conquering your fear.
Thanks for sharing.
Enjoy your girl's weekend!

Anonymous said...

But what a different event this was!-
...consider the stage, curtain, bright lights and 800! Like going Hollywood...or something.

Once I had one line in a play, one the time I came out on the stage..I had actual stabbing pains up and down my throat. It really hurt. Amazing what the body can conjure up!

As always it is very generous of you to share such human details with us ..this generosity and honesty is like an extra gift to us.

Buy yourself something nice this week-end....
Donna K

lil Gluckstern said...

To emerge triumphant, what a nice feeling. How wonderfully open you are, reminds us how human we all are. Enjoy your December.


Shelagh said...

Dear Louise,

I am so glad Rochester went so well for you. What a marvelous audience - 800 people! Yes! - you can do anything!!!!

Enjoy your girls day in Burlington, and your rest.

Hugs, Shelagh