When I was in Kindergarten I lived in Los Angeles. Laurel Canyon to be exact, on Appian Way. I went to Wonderland Elementary school with Rae Dawn Chong, and I played at Glen Campbell’s house. I remember that all my friends had cleaning ladies who took care of them after school (remember, this was L.A., in the 1970s). The cleaning ladies didn’t speak English, so I never knew what they were saying to me, and one in particular always tried to get me to drink warm milk, which I hated.
I also remember that there were two natural disasters there that year. First, an enormous wind storm barreled through the canyon, taking the roofs and walls from the houses that sat on stilts, floating off the sides of the steep canyon walls. Then, a few weeks later, an earthquake rumbled around and collapsed the already compromised floors and stilts that the wind had left behind. Those house remains tumbled down to the depths of the ravine bottom, and then, it being California and all, the construction crews moved in and started to rebuild, hanging new houses there in the air, suspended mostly by my five-year-old disbelief that anyone in their right mind would agree to live in them.
I’ve been back to California many times since that one odd year in Kindergarten. It’s always been memorable, whether it was because of a visit to the ocean (which for a landlocked girl like me is so rare), or because of an event (my honeymoon on my first very ill-fated marriage), or because of the people I went to see (my Great Aunt who I only met once and stood in for the Grandmother I never knew, my mother’s best friend who lay dying in a hospital of cervical cancer, my best friend from high school who never spoke to me again).
So, now I’m going back to Cali, and once more, it is certain to be memorable. This time I will be going to my first signing event as an author. Well, in all honesty, my first signing event ever. It’s funny that as much as I adore books, and as attached as I am to certain authors, I never–as a reader–had any interest in signings. Be that as it may, lots of readers do, and so I’m off to Los Angeles, for a multi-author signing, Authors Under the Lights. And in preparation for this monumental event I’ve got table decorations, swag, books, snacks, and even an “assistant” in the form of my lovely editor, Mickey Reed, who will most likely spend the whole time holding my hand as I hyperventilate from having to talk to all those people — remember, y’all, I work at home…alone…for days on end. ‘Nuff said.
I hope that some of you in SoCal are planning to come to the event, and that you’ll stop by my table when you do. Scared or not, I want to meet you, and I know you’ll go easy on me, it being my first time and all. Whether I sell one book or twenty, talk to two people or ten, I know this will be a memorable event for me. I’ll be sitting across the aisle from NYT bestselling authors, and watching the spectacle of forty some odd authors entertaining a few hundred readers (with the odd male model thrown in for good measure). It will once again cement California as a place where memories happen for me. Some good, some bad, but all of them permanent fixtures in the chaos inside my head.
To Check Out Authors Under the Lights Click Here