Monday, August 25, 2014

The Great Trans-Continental Table Tour of 2014

"Right," I thought, around this time last year.  "Gotta do something for the book launch.  Gotta go take myself on tour.  Gotta get some debut-authorial INITIATIVE up in here."

Yes, but how?

"Oh, I know!  I'll go hit up my family hot-spots right after the book comes out - see the whole clan, sleep on all the couches, and do book-signings while I'm at it.  Promote it as a signing tour and make everybody think I'm some kind of hot-shot professional!"

Fun fact: book-signings rev up the fans you already have - they don't get you new ones.  (Really, when's the last time you went to a signing for an author you'd never heard of?)  Which means that if you are a new author with zero track record, the world's bookstores are not going to be clamoring to get you on their calendars.

So, okay, I didn't manage to land any gigs.  So I didn't end up promoting this giant Portland-Seattle-London-Glasgow mega-tour as such.  Here's what I did do.

I hung out with these people:

And these people:

And these people:
Word to the wise: do not make Gramma arm-wrestle you for the check. She will end you.
And these people: 

And these are haggis bon-bons and not people - but trust me, there were people here too, and they are terrific.

And I did actually end up doing author-y stuff after all, because at WorldCon, Solaris threw me a launch party for the UK edition of the book!

Historical re-enactment, because I forgot to take pictures.
The pile of books was much bigger and grander.  And yes, there was beer -
because that's how the Rebellion rolls.
And I'm ashamed to say that I can't tell you anything about all the wonderful programming at WorldCon, because I saw almost none of it.  (Though if you want to hear about the great speculative biology throw-down or crying at the What's New in Maths panel, I have friends who are happy to oblige!)  Instead, I spent pretty much the entire time hell-bent on hanging out as hard and thoroughly as possible.

I'm not sure what combination of air currents and atmospheric pressures caused this massive social super-typhoon.  Maybe it was the excitement of finally getting to see so many of my long-distance friends in person.  Maybe it was all the great new friends I met there.  Or maybe inviting criticism from thousands of indifferent strangers (like you do when you put a book out into the world) just makes it really tempting to immerse yourself in the company of people who already like you.

And at the risk of hyperbole, getting all of these people in a room together
kinda feels bigger and more important than anything I've ever written.
Regardless, it was really hard to leave this particular tour-stop - not only because I'd had SUCH a great time, but also because I could pretty much guarantee that this particular permutation of people would never happen again.

It was even harder to go back home. 

Y'know, a few years back, I became legendary life-mates with a gal I worked with.  We had all sorts of food-service adventures together.  Staying out until 1AM cutting fruit as pineapple-acid dissolved our fingers.  Running carts full of china down the hallways like a low-rent catering version of Speed.  We spent one of the best birthdays I ever had driving 200 pounds of thawing chicken breasts down I-20 in a ratty old van, hustling to get them to a functional freezer before they turned into a festering bio-weapon.

Anyway, one average Tuesday, she called me up and said "Hey, what are you doing this weekend?"

And I was like, "Nothing, why?"

And she was like, "Wanna help me get married?"

So that Saturday, on the spur of the moment, I made a wedding cake, put on my fairy-princess prom-dress, and trooped out to Iowa Park, Texas to maid-of-honor my great buddy and the love of her life.

It was a family cake, see, cuz they had a baby on the way.
(He's starting kindergarten today.)
This Saturday, I went to his funeral.  Which was as beautiful and well-attended as the wedding, and almost as unexpected. 

And this is going to sound ridiculous and bizarre, but like... you know, after spending a month out in every far corner of my social world, ripening relationships with my oldest friends and germinating new ones, I kinda feel like I neglected my own backyard.  Even after three weeks doing pretty much nothing but seeing people, it is appalling to think about how many people - how many legendary life-mates! - I haven't talked to in months.  That's probably not going to get any better as I get busier and meet even more fabulous folks... but boy, I tell you what: the utter impossibility of keeping up with all the wonderful people in my life is without a doubt the best problem I'm ever going to have.

Well, regardless - I'm glad to have been there for the wedding, and glad to have been there for the funeral.  Mostly we all just wish they hadn't been so close together. 

Anyway, I guess the tiny little thesis statement in this whole giant post is that it wouldn't be so hard to leave our friends if we didn't have such a great time with them.  Here's a song I like about that - about that unhappy feeling of having to get up from the table, when everyone else is still having a good time.

So after a whole summer of tables - thanks, y'all, for having me at yours.  And if you have a second, raise a glass for Chad and Celeste.  Every one of us is a one-of-a-kind limited-time offer, and as sorry as we are that he's gone, we are so lucky to have enjoyed his company while he was here.

But since it fell into my lot
That I should rise, and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
"Good night, and joy be to you all!"


  1. I got a little weepy reading this post. Glad you are back.

    1. Me too, madam - I have missed you guys something fierce. (And sorry for making you leak; I gather you probably don't need my help with that!)

  2. Lovely post, Tex. "The Parting Glass" covers it all, doesn't it?

    Pass my condolences on to Celeste and her little boy.

    1. Aw, thanks, Ro - I absolutely will. (Much love for you and your crew, too - life is just a hell of a ride, ain't it?)