Friday, November 7, 2008

Jitters and Jests

This morning I woke at five, uneasy and uncomfortable. I could not get back to sleep. Perhaps sensing my nervousness Sugar, our kitten, hopped out of the bed and ran away. He has taken to squeezing in between R and I and falling asleep, sucking on his paw like a baby sucking his thumb. If there is no room between us he stands on one of us patiently, silently, until we move and make room for him. "Can't even sleep beside my own wife!" R grumbles good-naturedly some nights.

I am planning my book launch in Toronto for my novella Made Up of Arias with S, a friend, who has been unbelievably efficient and resourceful. Saturday morning over breakfast we will sort out the canapé and wine list (fancy, yes - my pal is very shrewd at making a great impression with this launch). The canapés are on me folks ...

The venue is a beautiful restaurant called the Globe Bistro in Riverdale with an upper lounge for events such as these. I'd like to have music, a bit of food, and two poet friends to read with me. Everything seems to be falling in place. Yet, the jitters have set in.

Will enough people show up? Will the big name author that I asked to blurb my book be finished on time? There was a mix up and he didn't get my message when I sent it initially. Are we spending too much for the launch? Did I annoy my publicist and editor with my pickiness and nervousness today? Will the book be ready for the conference that I will be attending soon? Am I making everyone crazy yet?

The Warterloo launch is set for December 1st. R is helping me to design the e-vite for the Toronto launch and I have to say it looks beautiful thanks to the Blaurock designer and the husband. It makes it all the more real. The editor of the newsletter at the university where I work has requested a short "profile" on the budding author ... oy. Is this really happening?

Thinking a lot about my mom and dad to whom the book is dedicated. In a way it is a love letter to them and to the family, to growing up in Hamilton in this pazza Italian family. Thinking of Ma as a young woman quite a bit. I have this vivid memory of her getting ready to go out with Dad when I was quite young. She worked in a factory until I was nine but when she went out, she looked amazing! She had these beautiful cocktail dresses (my sister and I share them now) and she would have her hair done up, red lipstick, heels, small beaded handbags. Very pretty. Very chic.

My mother's response to news of the publication was so muted that I didn't know what to think. I told the family the night of my cousin's wedding when we were all together, sibs, grandkids, Nonna. It was sort of like: "Oh, that's nice." End of story.The old gal is not exactly effusive.

I started thinking that she thought the mother Seraphina Pentangeli in the book was a negative portrayal of her (it's not negative, more wacky, more dramatic, than anything else and again, it's not really her - okay, maybe the mercurial temper, that yes) but I didn't know if she would feel uneasy about it. Also there is the father in the novel, Turi, and what happens to him in the course of the book. I think I need to prepare her a bit.

So I called her and asked if she was uncomfortable with the idea that people would assume that she was the mother in the book? No, she said pertly. I know that that everything written in books is not true. Well, that's me told. Like I was simple for asking.

And I was touched that she will make the trip to Waterloo for the first launch on December 1st. Hope I don't shame her.

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