I am a quiet person. I lead a quiet life. Just me and my computer. Oh yes, doing my Leslie Inc. activities for the body.
As I look through the pictures of 2021 it is hard for me to even believe that this was my life. A BOOK TOUR!! Encountering luminaries like Ann Patchett! Zibby Owens! And the wonderful authors that showed up. Colleen Oakley, Patty Henry, Kevin Wilson, Kimberly Brock, and Jill McCorkle. And then there were the authors that offer blurbs like Kristy Woodson Harvey and Lisa Barr. There were all you wonderful people that came out to my book signings. My heart flung wide open at the very idea you would show up. No crickets. Just laughter and people offering hugs. How did I get so lucky?
There were wonderful events on podcast with Julie Chan, Dara Levan, Katie Fulton, Berit Lohn, Tracy Curtis, and Lisa Harrison and Brenda Gardner.
And then they were the kindness of the bookstores and book people. Park Road Books and Sally Brewster – there are not words to thank you. This is followed closely by Ann Patchett at Parnassus. It was in that bookstore, in that moment, I felt overwhelmed and choked up when Kevin Wilson squeezed my hand and Ann Patchett gave me a hug. I have to tell you, this is the papal equivalent to a blessing.
Then I headed for New York City to attend the Zibby Awards presented by the indefatigable Zibby Owens for Before Anyone Else. This was the literary equivalent to the Oscars.
I had a lovely evening at the Auburn Oil Booksellers, and a fun evening at FoxTales with Hyphen going for a drink, and hearing “Purple Rain” that choked me up yet again with Lisa Harrison. All this was followed by events at Page and Palette which resembled an open mic night which I was very nervous to just talk. But Stephanie, dear Stephanie told me I did a good job. And just signing books and more books and even more books in Birmingham at Thank You Books! There were the book clubs with Francene Katzen in Richmond, Jenna Olson, Sally Dysart, and Cammie Monroe in Atlanta. When I visited my hometown, Vanessa Harper made me feel like a bride with food, chandeliers, and a towns full of people waiting on the girl that grew up there. Each bookstore has their own DNA and each Booktalk had its own DNA. Like friends, these bookstores became very special to me – and there were some bookstores I didn’t even manage to get to – like Litchfield. My energy was limited.
There were the people that drove me or flew with me. Kimberly Mize, Mary Scott Peterson, Lew Burdette and Harriet Pharr. There were others that just dispensed advice and hugs as were needed.
In fact, this year has been the opposite of quiet. It has been chock-full of people and moments. I often joked that I subsisted on Kind Bars and caffeine. Eating and drinking on the go to give me a big dose of energy.
Maybe I should ameliorate the saying and just say I subsisted on KINDNESS this year. And laughter. Love. Joy. Because you gave me all these things in heaping spoonfuls. Thank you. I hope to see you this summer on the summer tour. If you offer me a KIND bar I probably won’t refuse!