The party I’ve waited for since I was a little girl

The thing I’ve always appreciated most about children is their potential, the fact that they still believe they can do and become whatever and whoever they want. I’m not really sure when we start to lose that heady feeling, whether it’s in college, or directly after as we begin to confront the challenges of finding a job and paying bills, or maybe even sooner. Maybe all those standardized tests and the pressure to conform to the mold public education imposes slowly erases our sense of possibility. All I know is that, at some point, something happens to your absolute confidence in yourself and the world. Something sad. Which might be why I am exulting, delighting, preening over what is happening at Linnaea’s Cafe in San Luis Obispo on August 30 (7 p.m.).

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I’m celebrating the release of my first book with friends, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers, anyone and everyone who wants to see me at my happiest. And, hopefully, purchase my book (or learn a little bit about it). While other children plotted their NASCAR careers or planned their wedding to Ken, I planned my book release party. I envisioned myself in New York surrounded by important people who were delighted and awed by my brilliance (remember I was a child, and try not to judge my hubris). I laughed a lot at this party, and always had a glass of champagne in hand. I realize now that most of these images were probably pulled from scenes of terribly important parties in movies, just as the little girls and boys planning their weddings probably culled their ideas from movies. So my ideas maybe weren’t terrifically original, but it’s the dream that I’m now fulfilling that means so terribly much to me. I won’t be in New York because that wouldn’t make a lot of sense. I’ve never been there (though it’s certainly on the list). It didn’t inspire me in any particular way, and none of the people who matter to me happen to reside there.

So, San Luis Obispo it is. In fact, the party is taking place in the very cafe where I wrote a good chunk of the 580164_10102385260934786_1029274560_nnovel, exactly one year after I finished writing the first draft, and I’m anxious for it to happen now so I can direct my attention to writing my second novel, Vestal, which has been languishing in the back of my head while I worry about what will become of my first and admittedly less commercial progeny. If you can make it, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and–if you’re over the age of 21–a signature cocktail created by Michael Wangbelt, who is a high school buddy of mine with a decided flair for mixology. When I say signature cocktail, I mean a beverage created specifically for this party, and thematically inspired by and named after a character or event in my book. And served up in mason jars because, as everyone knows: Presentation is very important.

I’ve invested the last three months or so in planning this shindig and, despite being exhausted, am excited to share this very important moment in my life with anyone and everyone willing to attend. I will, of course, share photos and anecdotes from the party for anyone who was unable to attend. But I’d much rather that people actually attend and have a role in making those anecdotes. And if your curiosity is not sufficiently piqued, I will be displaying paintings created by the insanely talented Lena Rushing (one of which was used to create my cover, and the other serves as an interior illustration); prayer flags, which I had to borrow an iron to help construct; a dollhouse, which I will not explain here; and martini glasses with various condiments, which you’ll understand when you read the book.

Note the optimistic use of the word “when”? I generally don’t consider myself a member of the race of optimists, but it’s kind of incredible what can happen as you watch your nearest and dearest dream unfold. I’d like to think my 10-year-old self would be proud right now.

 

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