Anyone who knows me in real life will know that I’m not exactly horizontal in the chilled out stakes. I’m somewhere between about 45 and 80 degrees. And depending on the situation (organising a kid’s party, organising a barbecue, trying to get out the door when we have a babysitter…) I’m really quite the opposite of chilled out – positively vertical.
And worrying about whether or not people will turn up is one of the reasons I didn’t have a 40th birthday party, nor did I have a 21st. When I think back, the only reason I had a wedding is because people tend to RSVP and really turn up (okay that’s not the only reason, but you know what I mean.)
So the idea of a book launch was quite petrifying. Basically you invite everyone you know, people say they’d love to go and hope to be there, and then you arrive on the night with pretty much no idea if anyone will show.
For a not-always-chilled-out person like me, this is tantamount to asking me to start singing on Grafton Street in a solo flash mob. But this is how book launches are, so I went for a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach, and left my house yesterday evening hoping that I wouldn’t be speaking to an almost-empty room, and practicing my “Oh no, this is totally how it was planned” face.
Lovely friend and author Margaret Scott was launching the book for me, and we met a little before to go for tea and chats. As I was saying hello to her, I turned around and noticed two of my aunts, my uncle and my cousin were standing behind me – I hadn’t realised they were coming, and started to cry when I saw them. This did not bode well for keeping it together during the speech, but was a gorgeous start to what turned out to be the night of my life.
Because of course there’s a happy ending. I walked into the bookshop and all of a sudden, it was exactly like a wedding. There were aunts and uncles and cousins, neighbours from now, neighbours from back then, friends from school (so both now and then), friends from my old work, friends from my new work, my husband’s friends, blogger and writer friends, my sisters, my dad, and my kids.
There were hugs and smiles and wine and signatures and photos, along with deep breaths and much waving-of-hand-in-front of face to stave off tears (somehow, inexplicably, that works).
And then the overwhelm gave way to a kind of natural high I’ve never experienced before, and all the worry disappeared, and I enjoyed it, like I’ve never enjoyed anything in my life. It was truly wonderfully fun, and I soaked up every second, because I don’t think you get second chances at nights like this.
And now it’s back to the grind – right now I’m picking pasta up off the floor and cleaning something unidentifiable off the wall with a wipe.
But when I sit down tonight, I’ll take the time to go through the four million photos, and relive it just a little. On my couch. With a glass of wine. Finally horizontal.