So every one’s been asking me to tell all about THE BOOK EVENTS. What is it like to put yourself in front of real, live, authentic Pacific Northwest readers???
It is intimidating. I must admit that although I am not usually nervous about public speaking — I mean really: are you kidding? There is nothing I desire more than an audience, because of that whole tree-falls-in-a-forest-and-there’s-nobody-to-hear-it thing. (Hint: I’m the tree, dying to fall with a huge BOOM in earshot of my thousand or so worst enemies, just to piss them off.)
Anyhoo, where was I?
Right: Me not being nervous about public speaking due to my enormous narcissism. And how entirely nerve-wracking it is when to have to speak in front of the Gold Standard of Readers and Coolness that is the Great Pacific Great Northwest, compared to my usual yammering here on the Eastern Seaboard. Oh yes, dear blog readers; I was hugely nervous about each and every damn talk that I had to give, each and every day of my Great Pacific Great Northwest Tour.
My outing to Discovery Park in Seattle is typical of my “down time” in Seattle.
Discovery Park is a 534 acre natural area park , the largest city park in Seattle. The site is one of breathtaking majesty.
Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams.
Not that I saw any of this….Nooooooooo.
Because by the time Top Cat and I figured out how to get to Discovery Park (we were headed there at 11 o’clock in the morning from our motel in the University area, thinking we were driving our rental car east-ish, only to discover that whoa! We were barreling due south towards Pioneer Square! Which meant that we parked and moseyed around Pioneer Square for an hour and then got lost on our quest to see the International District, AKA “Chinatown”, which is like one freaking block from Pioneer Square don’t ask…so we ended up at the REI Home Office instead and had to ponder that 50-foot indoor rock climbing thing etc., etc., etc.) it was the middle of the afternoon and I had to review my notes for my talk that evening.
I was working on this Great Pacific Great Northwest Tour you see: so although I was familiar with my program (having written it myself, and all) I could not, in the land of Nancy Pearl, give a half-assed rendition of my Raison d’Etre as a writer…so I had to study my notes over and over before each talk.
Which meant that when Top Cat sauntered out into the wilds of Discovery Park to witness those astonishing vistas of Puget Sound and the surrounding mountains, I was sitting in the car with my loose leaf binders, going over the text that I had to present that night:
This is what I saw of Discovery Park. And Volunteer Park. And Rattlesnake Mountain. And a lot of the Oregon Coast. And the Pearl District of Portland.
Whether or not my preparations were in vain is something I can let you dear readers decide for your own selves.
Sally McPherson of Broadway Books in Portland made a tape of my talk at her fine little independent book store on May 24. (I didn’t know she was taping me . Yeah, I saw the microphone, but thought it was a prop since it didn’t seem to amplify my voice which, by that time — my last event after nine days on the road — was very ragged and oh, so painful, and a bit higher-pitched than my usual tone.) This is the first time I’ve ever seen myself on tape.
I expected Vivian Swift to be cool because her book is so great. But she knocked my socks off when she spoke here. She spoke about traveling, about staying put, about learning your city, about making art, about wearing fleece, about watching sunsets and hugging trees, and just a whole bunch of stuff. It hurt to edit her talk down to less than 15 min, but here it is!
If this link doesn’t work, try finding it on Facebook:
Does my hair look wierd? Is it me, or do I not move my top lip when I speak? What’s that strange accent I have, with those heavy R‘s? Can you tell that I wished I’d popped a throat lozenge in my mouth before I started my yakking? Do I have eyebrows? Am I that funny-looking in person, or is it the lighting? I should use lipstick, shouldn’t I? Do I need elocution lessons? Do I talk too fast? Too slow? Oh, Jesus: do I sound as stupid to you as I do to me???