For the uninitiated, Naperville is a suburb of Chicago. (Bad Witch series note: in Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered, Cat and Lex visit seer Anne Williams at her bookstore, located in downtown Naperville. Specifically, Cat's comment is, "I am opposed to Naperville. It’s all cute, trendy and expensive, and filled with cookie-cutter Borg houses that assimilate you into upper-middle-class America.") (We'll come back to my Naper-feelings later.) The event is held on the second floor of Le Chocolat du Bouchard, and OMG YOU GUYS. The chocolate. And the pastries! And the adorable gift shop with Paris-themed stuff! I could have spent all day there. So good.
Shannyn went first. I was supposed to go first, but Tracey and Adrienne took pity on my expression of sheer terror and allowed me to go second. Shannyn Schroeder reads like a pro, you guys. No fear at all. I was in awe.
And then it was suddenly my turn. Now, as long-time readers of this blog may recall, I suffer from anxiety problems. Or as I like to call them, the anxiety demons. If the anxiety demons had their way, I would never leave the house. Every event I attend is a victory over the demons. I was terrified of reading in public, but I was determined to do it. Everyone at the salon was great and encouraging, assuring me that I'd be fine. The logical part of my brain understood this, but the anxiety demons don't deal in logic. They deal in crazy. Like this,
My hands were shaking when I got up to read my excerpt, and the paper I read from was trembling. I panicked at first. I knew I would, which was why I'd written down notes of all the things I wanted to mention about Poison in the Blood. Like how it was inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem "Goblin Market", and how I had coupon codes for it for the Samhain store. Important things. Did I actually say any of these things? No. I did not. Because I panicked.
Thankfully I had practiced reading the excerpt and was able to channel my inner larper to project my voice and attempt to inject some sort of emotion into the words. So I survived. Yay!
And then Sarah read, and she was so damn fabulous. She had puppets. PUPPETS, people! And then there was a Q&A with Bobbi Dumas. I was much calmer during the Q&A, because by that time I had (temporarily) vanquished the anxiety demons.
Here are a few pics from the event:
Here I am, with my cool hair. That's totally my mom on the left.
Here is Shannyn reading. You can see that she's all, "Yup. I got this."
Here we are just before the Q&A, debating over who should get the chair. We all hovered instead. I win at looming.
All in all, it's a very cool experience, and you should definitely attend one if you have the opportunity. The next one is in October.
Back to my feelings on Naperville. My ex-husband is from Naperville, and I spent a lot of time there with him and his family. This month is the 2 year anniversary of the divorce being finalized, and I still have nightmares about it. This was the first time I've been to Naperville since the divorce, and everything in the area reminded me of him, so in addition to my anxiety about the reading I was weighed down by d-bomb angst.
But the plus side was that doing this reading was a victory over both the anxiety demons and the lingering divorce drama. I feel empowered. And that's pretty awesome.