“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players” ~Shakespeare
Yes, the great bard was correct. The world–life–is a stage and at times I wish the contracts would expire for some of the bit players in my own life so I can either kill off their character or hold an open call and recast them–but I digress…
Today I’m here to talk about my own personal stage appearance and what it’s doing to me. Like sand through an hourglass, the moment of my live appearance at Lady Jane’s Salon Romance Reading Series at Madame X in New York City grows nearer. And in anticipation I find myself unable to sleep. I lay awake at night tossing and turning, my mind spinning in that zone between sleeping and waking where problems seem insurmountable, and where everything appears to be a problem.
This really makes no sense to me. I was a tour guide for 7 years at one of the hottest sites during the 90s, where reporters, museum curators, British royalty, American royalty (ie: former and sitting US presidents, Rockefellers, Astors, and Martha Stewart) and US Secret Service agents were an everyday reality. To each and every one, during hurricanes and sweltering heat alike, through fainting guests and helicopters landing in front of us, I delivered my 2 hour tour flawlessly.
More recently I was thrown into the position of acting auctioneer for a local not-for-profit, where I had to sell the completely intangible the week the stock market crashed, and I did it, and then outdid the sum raised the following year.
I was both active member president and sustainer president of my local chapter of the Junior League and addressed large groups at monthly meetings. Hell, I host a romance radio show and sleep deprived and in the middle of a hotel lobby, conducted 27 interviews over a 3 day period.
Speaking has never been a problem for me. More like shutting me up is the issue. So what’s with the no sleeping? After all, it really is (as Warhol said) literally only 15 minutes of fame I must endure. All I need do is walk into Madame Xs, and then take the stage for a mere quarter of an hour and read from my own book the words I wrote and have rehearsed in advance. Then, afterwards, sit back, order a glass of wine and relax while I watch 3 of my fellow authors do the same.
I’m ready. I selected, printed out, timed and practiced aloud the scene I’m reading. I have my outfit chosen, right down to the boots. My bag is packed with my books and swag, easels, signs and banners, pens and markers, business cards and (just in case because you never know) double-stick tape.
Perhaps it’s my fear that instead of having a Sally Field moment (“They like me. They really like me.”) I’ll instead say thank you to a room full of people (or worse, empty of people) very happy to see me leave that stage. Who knows.
In any case, if you’re in the tri-state area and can make it into Manhattan on Monday, September 6th, 7 pm, it promises to be a fun night. Admission to the reading is either one gently-used romance novel or $5 (which goes to benefit a local women’s charity), drink specials are $5 (just about unheard of for NYC), and there will be giveaways, a raffle, books for sale and to win, and of course, readings by 4 local authors.
I hope to see you there, and if not, should there be a photo taken during the reading where my mouth is closed and my eyes are open, I’ll post pics of the action here afterward.