This week it was all about the “I Will Keep You Alive” Launch.
By all accounts the party was a great success. We drew a SRO crowd of about 70 and sold about 40 books. (Many people attended in couples and some already had copies.) (“Fabulous,” “Beautiful,” “Courageous,” “Intense and intimate,”early readers have said.) Everyone was someone we knew personally or was a friend of someone we knew. (In other words, our FB notices drew zero. So much for the power of the Internet.) All pockets of my life were represented but one. Lawyers basketball guys, the café and health club and Mended Hearts. (Unrepresented was the comix world. You know how shy those folks are.) Demography-wise, 94% of the attendees were over 60 and white.
The five best reasons people gave for not attending were: (1) I had a book group meeting. (Book unspecified.); (2) I went to a reading by a friend at UC. (Author unspecified); (3) A five-way tie between “You mean it was last night? I thought it was today” (Two people), “You mean it was Wednesday. I thought it was Friday), and “I thought it was in April.”; (4.) “My wife’s cousin came in unexpectedly from New York”; and (5) “S____’s mother died.” [Then there are those who have not even acknowledged there was an event to which they had been invited, including two who asked multiple times when and where it would be. The customs and behavior of human beings, even to someone my age, remain of interest.]
One fellow who hadn’t come asked if the prevailing mood in the room had been one of “empathy.” Adele agreed that was so. “Everyone had similar experiences in their lives – or worries about future ones.” I suggested “love” and “terror” too. It was present in small doses in the portion we read [pp. 8 – 13 (top)] and came across more strongly in the questions and discussions that followed.
I should admit that I spent a lot of time in my head afterward going over the people who’d said they would be there and weren’t, and the people who did not buy a book. Then about 4:30 a.m., it dawned on me, What about “gratitude”? What about “forgiveness”? That seemed a better way to carry on, and I have had it by the handle since.
P.S. Two days later, a second cousin e-mailed that IWKYA was #1 in an Amazon category. What category, I wondered. Best book by septugenarian Jewish couple?
Nope. I found it at “Heart Disease.” But in two hours it had dropped to #9.
Which wasn’t bad, considering it won’t be on sale for 10 days.
In other news…
The editor of the university press book to which I had been proposed by the authors to write the introduction has replied, “It would be nice to have someone like him.”
Someone like me! That’s the nicest thing anyone in mainstream media has said in years.