Back to the room for a quick rest while the story in Oregon unfolds. He shot his parents, too! I change my clothes and eat a bowl of pasta from room service while glued to the tube. At 5:30 the author escort pick us up to head out to Winnetka for tonightís signing.
Iím feeling down. The news story? Todayís personal disappointments? Iím beginning to wonder - again - what good it does to travel from city to city promoting a book. Based on todayís experiences is it really worth the publisherís bucks or my time and energy? I try to talk myself out of my bad mood before we get to the bookstore.
7-8 PM: We get to the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka fi fteen minutes early. Itís a small independent store but theyíve set up chairs for maybe thirty or forty. Itís a good crowd, standing room only. Iím so grateful to them for showing up! They think Iím bullshitting them when I tell them what a difference it makes. Since there are only two or three kids in the audience I can focus my talk on Summer Sisters and how I came to write it.
Phyllis Fagell, a graduate journalism student at Northwestern who interviewed me by phone a month or so ago, has brought a group of classmates, men and women, to the signing. They smile a lot during my talk, which makes up for the three women in the front row who show nothing (but later turn out to be friendly). Phyllisís friends ask intelligent questions after my talk. During the signing two other young women tell me they left work early and drove three hours to get to Winnetka to meet me. I no longer wonder what Iím doing on the road. With such loyal readers how can I feel down? Someone snaps photos of the three of us. I tell them to be careful on the long drive home. They promise they wonít speed this time. We donít leave the bookstore until after nine.
Back at the hotel I wolf down a pack of Oreos from the mini-bar. Too tired to pack. Will get up early tomorrow instead.
Still Chicago, Friday, May 22
Get up at 6:30 am to pack. Order a good breakfast from room service (I almost never eat on planes, aside from pretzels and rolls) and I know my next meal wonít be until tonight in Santa Fe.
The author escort picks us up at 8:40 and we drop in to sign books at Borders. (I was supposed to do this yesterday, but they had no books. Now their order has come in.) Then on to OíHare where Vicki and I say goodbye. For the next five cities George will be traveling with me. Vicki is heading back to New York for the long holiday weekend and next week sheíll be in the office.
For me itís off to Santa Fe for a weekend with family and friends. I lived in New Mexico from Ď76 to Ď84. George and I met there almost nineteen years ago so to us itís like going home. Amanda, my stepdaughter, lives in Albuquerque now, and three of my closest friends still live in Santa Fe.