Friday, November 20, 2009

Post party glow

So. It's 5 in the morning and I'm crazily exhausted, but can't sleep—last night's Rizzoli party is still reverberating through me. It was amazing, remarkable, enervating, surreal, outrageously FUN, a blur of faces and conversations, all seen from the vantage point of sitting at the end of long table, sharpie in hand, with people lining up for me.

Yesterday, the hours leading up were not fun. In the least. It was cold and rainy, a day to curl up on a couch with a mug of hot chocolate and not go out unless absolutely necessary. As the day went on, aside from the potential debacle of having no one to do my makeup, emails and texts and messages kept arriving with regrets. By 3:00 I was sure no one was showing up. I didn't want to show up, wondering if there was a way I could blow the party off. It seemed like no one would miss me, as no one was actually coming. I crashed, or rather slowly, sadly slipped into a place of self-doubt and angst. Perhaps something nurturing would have been the way to go, lunch with a friend, a pedicure, a nap, but I didn't have it in me to be good to myself. My day, my afternoon, was remarkably the same as every other day. Jack and Iz were playing Lego Rockband, so the theme from Ghostbusters (they're scraping the bottom of the musical barrel at this point), thumped in my head. Trust me, that did not help.

My sister showed up to do my makeup. She'd very thoughtfully gone lipstick shopping for me. I'd thought something reddish would be appropriate and the only lipstick I own is the same color I've worn every days for more years that I can remember (Clinique, Blushing Nude). After outlining my lips and then filling and blotting, a look of controlled concern washed over her face. She couldn't even pretend I looked ok. Unless I was going for a Bozo the clown facade. And then I had makeup panic round 2. I needed to leave in 15 minutes and had nothing else. She ran downstairs to for another option (my sister's makeup collection rivals a well-stocked Bloomingdale's counter), while I tried hard not to hyperventilate. We settled on a bright plum, muted with my usual nondescript color on top. My eyes were elaborated layered with shades of grey and purple, foundation lightly dabbed on, with a dusting of blush. I looked like a ceramic version of myself—my skin had a texture I'd never seen before. She assured me that from 2 inches away, which was how I was scrutinizing myself, it appeared odd, but to the rest of the world, it would be fine.

I slipped my vintage black lace dress over my head. I have to take a moment to give my fabulous dress a shout out. While the lace was black, the flowers were edged in brown. A straight 60s sheath over nude satin. 3/4 sleeves with a lace ruffle at the elbow. I found it for $20 in the east village. Black tights and matte black Tahari boots, fitted with a square toe and shiny patent heels, and I was almost done. Smoky quartz earrings, made of dozens of shiny stones, and black glasses with subtle rhinestones in the corners. She ironed my hair super straight and I have to say, I looked good. Fancy, polished, sleek, about as not me as I could possibly get.

I grabbed the $50 worth of red m&ms I'd felt the party couldn't be without, stacks of mini FLOW stickers I'd had made, and ran out the door, shouting back over my shoulder vague instructions about getting Iz and Jack to the party.

I couldn't find a cab.

Off-duty signs everywhere. 2 pulled up but quickly pulled away when I said where I was going. No busses in sight. And there was no way I'd make it down and up subway steps in the first heels I'd worn in 15 years. Finally, a taxi pulled up and we super slowly headed into midtown. That lengthy drive gave me time to tear my entire bag apart, searching frantically for my lipstick (and more importantly aquaphor), that I'm never without. Convinced my lips would chap and bleed, my first post-cab stop was a ritzy pharmacy on 57th.

As I walked out I saw the bookstore across the street. The right side of the storefront was all FLOW. A huge blow up of the cover, with a banner announcing the signing, filled the arched window, stacks and stacks of books on a table below. A friend from twitter, the lovely Greetums, was already there as I walked through the front door. I headed up to the balcony, where we'd be, and found wine and salty snacks had been set out—the red m&ms were a perfect touch. Black sharpies were in place. A stunning man said hello and started snapping photos—he was the incredibly talented friend of a friend who'd so generously offered to come shoot the party ( Slowly, people trickled in. Someone asked me to please start signing and seemingly within minutes, the entire upstairs was jam packed with people waiting to say hello and have books signed. The next 2 hours were a blur. Friends I'd seen that morning, friends I hadn't seen since high school. One of the very first people I'd ever worked for. People I knew well, people I'd never seen before. People who knew me and it took a few seconds for me to place. My dentist. My mother-in-law. Our guitar teacher. My kids would wander by every once in awhile and then disappear into the crowd. I smiled, chatted, hugged, waved, blew kisses, bowed in thanks and gratitude. Was near tears more than once at the people who showed up to celebrate with me.

Over 100 books were sold. The Rizzoli people looked slightly stunned throughout and told us, as the crowed thinned but we continued to sign for almost half an hour extra, it was the most successful signing they'd ever had. People kept asking if my hand hurt but I only felt glee—I was floating in this space of pride, thrill, joy.

Later, as we had drinks with friends across the street, I thought about all the people who weren't there. My dad didn't make it—he's had some sort of emergency, and while not calling me himself, he'd asked someone else to let me know. Typical family communication. Some of my closest friends didn't show, people I never would have dreamed would be blowing me off. Some who said "see you later" and didn't. Some expected, some real surprises. And yet, it didn't/doesn't matter. It was a glorious night. Enthusiasm for me, for the book, for someone putting something new and different out into the world.

Love was flowing.

Day 45 will be bone-tired yet exceedingly, extraordinarily grateful for the people in my life.


Anonymous said...

i am so happy for u lis!!! "the most successgul signing they ever had" you should be very proud of yourself. And just the idea that you were almost brought to tears has made me tear up. i am truly thrilled for you. you deserve all the happiness in the world!

Bruce Barone said...