I think I have become what I want to be when I grow up. I am an author, starting today my book is published and on the shelves of bookstores, I had my first book signing event tonight.
It only took fifty-one years.
The event was in the best independent bookstore in my university-centered home town; I have fantasized for decades about having a book I had written sit on their shelves, displayed in their window. Now it is there: YU: A ROSS LAMOS MYSTERY.
Friends came from the community radio station where I volunteer, the Tibetan Buddhist temple where I practice, even my high school English teacher showed up and bought two copies.
The Courthouse Square was full of people -- it was a First Friday Gallery Walk, always a happening in culture-happy Bloomington, and a gorgeous early autumn night to boot. Plus, Indiana University plays Michigan tomorrow, so there were extra Michiganites in view. People walked in. The tray of fruit and cheese I brought was heartily enjoyed. Two friends from different spheres of my life turned out to know each other from yet another sphere, which they share without me -- a fine moment in a small town. The bookstore cat barfed on the carpet. I discovered the bookseller had graduated high school from BHS South the year after me, and had had the same English teacher.
I sold eleven books. That seems like a fine start to a career.
A highlight, I have to admit, was my mother. Pardon me, my Significant Mother. That's how she's identified in the book's dedication, and she has adopted the title with pride. At 83 she's still a pistol, regardless of the the two hearing aids, two titanium knees, Lifeline pendant, and cane. When we realized that the poster for the signing was only going to stay on the glass door recessed far away from the sidewalk, Mom pulled it down and stood outside holding it up against her chest. She people-watched and announced the signing of her daughter's first novel, right inside here, to anyone who paused to stare.
I think she had as much fun as I did.
One friend urged me to have a glass of champagne after packing up the rest of my books. I agreed, but what I actually did was even better. Arriving home, I immediately got out of my nice outfit and napped for an hour. And then Mom and I went to Dairy Queen. After launching a career as a popular author, a big hot-fudge sundae is the perfect punctuation.
Now here's the postscript. All my life, I have been identified as "Marge Blewett's daughter," because my Significant Mother has always been a pistol, through fifty years and more involvement at the IU School of Journalism. Today (she told me), during the day, Mom walked into the IU J-School newsroom, and a young man saw her and said, "Hey, are you Joy Laughter's mom? When's her book signing?"
I like to died.
About Joy Shayne
Causes Joy Shayne Laughter Supports
WFHB Community Radio, The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, The Lakota Language Consortium, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Seeds of...