“Fine” to my mom meant that I would be able to handle every situation that life threw my way. And with twin boys, now teenagers, life uses me like the backstop at a peewee little league game. Through stitches and x-rays and emergency room visits, my mom’s mantra has stood by me.
This past Sunday, surrounded by friends and family and well-wishers, I had my very first book signing. There were two other local authors, Mary Schaller and Andy Kutler, and we took turns either reading from our books or talking about them. Now, I’m not afraid of talking to strangers, though there were only a few at this event. I regularly chat up people I don’t know when standing in line at Starbucks. Years ago, I used to be a standards trainer for a San Francisco hotel. Once, the general manager asked me to give a presentation on the history of the Fairmont Hotel at a luncheon for over 50 Fortune 500 CEOs. No problemo.
But this past Sunday at the book signing, I discovered that I was nervous. I mean, what if all of these great people who bought my book didn’t like it? What if I read it wrong, or mispronounced something I wrote? What if in the middle of the reading, Portugal scored the winning goal for the Euro Cup and the cheering and jeering from the adjacent bar drowned me out? So what did I do? I volunteered to go first—get it over with quickly, like ripping off a band-aid. I gazed at the many faces who had come to support me, took a deep breath, and thought to myself, “Oh Honey, you’ll be fine.” A third of the way through my reading, my main character Anna was hit in the ribs with a quarterstaff. ““Oof,” she—” [insert LOUD screaming here as Portugal as beat France]. I
paused, looked up from my book at all of the “uh oh” expressions in the room, smiled, cracked a joke, then continued on my way. And guess what? I was just fine.