It went well. What else can I say. I'm no supa stah. Barnes and Noble didn't have to hire extra security for crowd management, but I was fortunate.
I got there seven minutes late because I have chronic insomnia, and I sleep late as a bit of a compensation. I got up late, and all seven of us need a turn in the bathroom. I was next to last. Big mistake. Ken went after me. Bigger mistake.
Ken has to be the most deliberate man in creation. He's a pretty immaculate dresser, I mean, because of Ken we have an iron. The concept of ironing is foreign to me. It's like the film Wings of Desire. Foreign. The results were beautiful, but did I really understand it? I think not!
So I was seven minutes late. Yeah, I know that's God's perfect number, but it still sucked to be late as far as I'm concerned. Sara had set me up a table in the cafe--far enough that I would disturb patrons, and easy enough to find. There was a frightening stack of twenty or so of my books and of course the fear that I'd sell none of them, but God was good.
The first person I saw as I took in the table, was my friend Debbie Taylor. She's a wonderful author. She writes children's books. She's always been generous with knowledge, support and anything else I needed to write. It was kind of fiting that she'd be there to greet me. I was so happy to see her. She'd already started the book and thought it was really good. She said, "I wanted to like it because of you, but when I started reading I really liked it." You have no idea how many people have said something similar. I must look like I can't write.
More people came in, and the funny thing, they were all my friends. Not one stranger got a signed book from me that day. That's okay. I'm still building readers. I can blow my little trumpet only so much and then my quiet, reclusive nature reasserts itself. A store full of friends just there to support me. Doesn't get much better than that.
As I was leaving my friend Keysha and her mom showed up. Keysha is the girl I told you about. When we were kids, I told her my stories. My. She's forty now, and I'm almost 42. I haven't seen her since my seventeen-year-old son Lumumba was a baby. It was like coming home, being with her, in the good way that home is a set of people who formed you, who without their lives merging with yours, you wouldn't be who you are. We spent the whole day together, her kids and mine, and she cooked fried chicken. Heaps of it, and I didn't worry about calories because there was so much love in the room.
Signing books is weird. I'm sill not quite used to this new life of mine, but I do know God is with me. It takes the edge off the strangeness of doing interviews, being a "CBA" writer, which means my books are shelved with CBA Christian fiction rather than in the African American section. I have so much to tell you, but I've been really sick. I'm in a lot of pain, even now. I wanted to come back because I've missed you, and I knew you wanted to hear how things went.
Thanks for tuning in, sweet reader. Will you say some prayers for me? The pain is pretty bad.
Grace and peace,