One of my stories was published in an award-winning book, yet I didn’t attend my reading debut in a California bookstore on a wet Friday November evening.
Sad, but true.
Author Lynn Henriksen had chosen to include my story, “Traveling to the Ocean” in her book TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character and Spirit (http://www.amazon.com/TellTale-Souls-Writing-Mother-Memoir/). A long title for a smart, emotional guide to writing memoir.
Lynn’s book helps writers of any level access memory and tell true tales in just a few pages. And in each chapter, she adds poignant mother/daughter (or son) stories written by selected contributors.
My story was one of those, in the section entitled “Using Descriptive Imagery.” How exciting is that? And then, to top it off, Lynn asked me to join her and some of the other writers to read at the Catching Spirits Event at Books Inc. in Alameda, a book store known as “The West’s Oldest Independent Bookseller.” (http://www.booksinc.net/Alameda)
So did I send the news to my 500 closest friends?
Did I proclaim my publishing success on Twitter and Facebook?
Well, yes, but just two hours before the event began. I may be a writer, and I may want readers, but I’m still shy about my ‘stuff’ (yes, my fingers shake every week before I hit ‘post’ on WordPress), and I didn’t want people to brave the highways and byways of the East Bay just to listen to little ole me read a story.
I was so glad of that decision when my guy and I left our home an hour and a half before the event. Normally a 45-minute ride, we factored in that (a) we’d be driving in Friday evening commute traffic and (b) the rain was falling hard enough to make my hair frizz, all the better that I’d not encouraged family and friends to attend.
An hour later, we were still in bumper-to-bumper, rain-soaked, slick streets racing (about 3 minutes per hour) toward our destination. Since I tend to motion sickness, I opened the window every so often, allowing sprays of spittle-like moisture to soak my face and my hoped-for straight hair, which now resembled an SOS pad.
7 p.m. The event was beginning, I was supposed to be the first reader, and yet my man and I were still enmeshed in a sea of moving metal bodies. My head throbbed in motion distress, and my stomach thanked me for not eating anything.
Finally, we reached the city of Alameda, sighing that our journey was almost at an end. I texted Lynn to not give up on me. As we got closer to the treasure – the bookstore – I searched desperately for a parking place, seeing nothing but parked cars on the metered spaces and red brake lights in the dark drear night.
We followed directions for a parking garage, two blocks away, and followed a line of similarly wandering souls. Turning into the small garage opening, we drove UP, and around, UP, and around, UP and around, until my head pounded in protest.
“Must be space at the top,” I murmured hoarsely to my man, “look at all the cars coming down the opposite way.”
Well, four more times we went UP, and around, UP and around, until we reached the top, the sky, and not one open space. All those cars we passed going the opposite way? They’d had no luck either. What kind of garage has no sign that says: FULL?
Didn’t matter. At that point in time, my body was full of motion sickness. I couldn’t walk, much less talk or smile or hold a book for sale.
“Take me home!” I croaked.
The rain stopped for our drive back. So did the horrible traffic. In fact, we soared home, and I crawled into bed like a sick child.
But stuck in my head, all night long, was the 1980s tune, “It never rains in California, But it pours, man it pours.”
Songwriters: HAMMOND, ALBERT/HAZLEWOOD, MIKE
Got on board a westbound seven forty-seven
Didn’t think before deciding what to do
Ooh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true …
Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours
I’m out of work, I’m out of my head
Out of self respect, I’m out of bread
I’m underloved, I’m underfed, I wanna go home
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours
20 thoughts on ““It Never Rains in California, but It Pours, Man It Pours” – A Writer’s Tale”
Unbelievable – what a yucky, yucky trip (knowing how you are, I am glad I was not there!!) but such a shame. Here’s to no more “pouring rain”
actually I just heard that’s on the way now stay home L Marcia
Pam, your blog was passed on to me from our common friend Kari Maschino. You are an excellent writer–your words made me see and feel all you endured! Thank you for the smiles!
Hi and thank you so much for stopping and reading my post. I think our ‘uncommonly’ uncommon friend is Pat H, yes? Same with Kari. We all are common friends, related in one way or the other, and wonderfully different in our own ways. I love your sense of humor, and I love that you think I’m a good writer. THANKS. :+)
p.s. I didn’t mean Kari is personally common, as you know, she’s a multi-talented and warm and wonderful person. I should have said our MUTUAL friend. :-]
Oh shame shame – I’m so sorry you didn’t make it, gutted…but major congrats on being included in the book…there’ll be other readings. May you stay well, dry and smiley!
Oh, I was actually smiling during the ordeal (or was that a grimace? hmmm), but yes, I’m looking forward to sunny readings ahead.
Oh Pam, i feel your pain. On the other hand, congrats to you!!! i remember that cute story about driving to the ocean with your adorable mom.
Next time, remember that we all want to share in your successes, so don’t keep it a secret! And hopefully next time your reading won’t be in the city at rush hour during a storm! : )
Yes, perhaps I learned my lesson… but then again, if a bunch of my friends came to hear me, and I never made it… Oh dear, then I would have been in a pickle indeed. Well, not really, because the readings of the other writers went so well,they want to do it again. Hopefully I’ll make it the next time. And I’ll tell everyone about it!!
I’m so sorry to hear that.
But ther will always be another reading. With no traffic. On a bright chipper day.
And next time do everyone a favor and self-promote! You have tons of friends out there who wanna send good vibes your way.
You’re absolutely right – if I’d told everyone, the good vibes might have helped me get to my destination! I have an e-book in the works – soon, you’ll be sick and tired of my self-promotion, but hey, I’ll try and make it fun (just like you did for your fabulous book).
Pam, I know you tried your best to get there, and I was very disappointed to have to cut your debut! The TellTale Souls & Spirits event was a smash hit, so I hope to have a few more, but will plan for times when the sun should be shining and your hair won’t frizz! (As you know, I have the same hair problem.)
Thank you for the promotion of my book in this post – I, too, deplore self-promotion, but it is a necessary, shall we say, evil? With that being said, I hope your 500 friends need nice gifts & stocking stuffers, and I know the perfect present – TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to….http://www.amazon.com/TellTale-Souls-Writing-Mother-Memoir/dp/0985055944/. And it’s on sale!
THANK YOU for getting the link to your book in here. I tried to in my post, but am technologically-challenged. I agree, your Writing Mother Memoir is an excellenet holiday gift. Crossing my fingers that I’ll be invited to the next TellTale Souls & Spirits event. xo
Congrats! I believe this might be your first book reading adventure disaster. All published authors have them, and yours hits all the right notes of despair and humor. Seriously, very excited about your piece being published.
You are so right. I can check this one off my ‘author adventure disaster’ list. And yes, better to laugh about it – the good news is that I was invited in the first place. :+) THANK you for your support.
Oh no, so sorry you missed your reading. I do hope you get another opportunity to share your wonderful stories! Did I hear that you’re getting even more rain today? Stay dry….and frizz free!
Hair a disaster, but SF bay area getting much (too much, at this point) needed rain. On rainy days, I should give up and go for the frizz. :+)
My dear woman, yes, you tell an amazing story, never mind that you missed your five minutes of fame because you have at least six days of fame in your future, so says the crystal ball that I have sitting here.
Yay! Here’s to crystal balls and sunny bookstore-reading days.
Now you have an entry for “Worst Trip Ever” to recount when writers get together and start bragging. You should have got your man to drop you at the bookshop door and sent him off alone to fight for parking space. Hope you’ve dried and de-frizzed by now.
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