A little something in advance of the event by Author Lori Tobias:
If every picture tells a story, the tale I want told comes from a shot taken in the fall of 2016. In it, I’m on stage in the basement of a Greenwich Village jazz club. My hands are raised in the air, there’s a smile on my face and I look confident; happy; engaged.
Except, we’ll have to shelve it under fiction. The story is a lie. Oh, I’d been happy enough, and would be so again soon. But just then, as that photo is snapped, all I want is for it to be over.
I am the newly published author of “Wander.” And this—a reading in New York— is supposed to be the dream. But I am an absolute basketcase. A trembling, mouth-so-dry-I-can-barely- speak, knees-rattling, armpits-soaked-basketcase. It turns out I have stage fright, stage fright so utterly incapacitating that no amount of practice, meditation or self-help advice does one iota to contain. I can’t even accept a stranger’s offer of water, so shaky are my hands. I worry, am I reading too fast? Can they hear me? Is my outfit OK? I’d worry about a million other things, except I am so frazzled, I can barely remember my name. And if I could, my pounding heart would no doubt drown it out. People assure me it will get better, easier, and I fervently hope they are right.
And four years later, as the OSU press and I launch my memoir, “Storm Beat — A Writer Reports from the Oregon Coast,” I learn, happily enough, they are.
Publishing in the virtual world turns out to be my silver lining in the cloud that is COVID. Other authors hate it. There are no bookstore crowds gathered to meet and greet, no signings, no apres-event cocktails. Not even the complimentary bookmark some stores so graciously gift. (Thank you Grass Roots Books and Tattered Cover — I treasure them.)
And I am positively thrilled. Here, perched on a dining room table chair, my laptop balanced on a kitchen stool, I look out into that maskless, socially-distanced virtual world and I am home. I read. I laugh. I answer questions. And I think, how lucky I am to be here with these smiling faces from all over the country, from time zones hours ahead and behind, from old friends and perfect strangers. No sweat; no thumping heart; no panicked search for words. Just people gathered to share our passion for the love of words.
The story the picture tells in this time when levity is far too rare is one of a happy, grateful writer. One hundred percent non-fiction.
A writer living her dream.
For more on how to join me Saturday, May 15, at 2 for the NW Author’s Series with Cannon Beach Library, just click on the blue letters! https://cannonbeachlibrary.org