Advisory: This post was written while waiting in LAX for a increasingly delayed departure. I'm really not always this cranky.
Before this tour began for "Dogs I Have Met" I knew that it would be the last time I embarked on anything resembling a tour. This isn't to say I'll never travel again or promote my future books, just that it will definitely be scaled back because I'm just too old to be bothered by it. Not that I'm that old. It's just things like this:
1. After packing in the middle of the night and sneaking out of the house to leave the dogs with a sitter, I awoke on my flight to Los Angeles and for the first time in my life felt the kind of motion sickness that afflicts children. For about an hour, I had my head between my knees, breathing into a bag. No doubt the people next to me loved this.
2. Arriving in Los Angeles, I rent a car and drive to Irvine. It is only early afternoon, but traffic is horrendous. At the offices of Bow Tie (Dog Fancy, etc.) I tape an interview for their website. The lights are hot. The people are nice. I get choked up talking about the pit bulls that many readers have written to me about. And then, because it isn't live, I am asked to answer all of the questions again, so they get a close up. (There isn't anything unusual about this, but it stretches to two hours what will eventually be a three minute clip.)
3. Traffic is worse on the way back to LA. I stop and sign stock at two stores along the way, then give up because I'm due at the Federal Building to tape another interview. I call to say I'm running late. I call again to say I'm running later. The interview goes well, and we finish at 5:30pm. At this point I've been awake for about 18 hours and the only thing I've had to eat is an Egg McMuffin in Dallas and a cookie in Irvine.
4. I have 90 minutes to get to Borders in West Hollywood, which is about three or four miles away. It takes an hour to drive that far. The manager used to live in New Orleans. We talk about how things are. They have a ton of books, but somehow the event hasn't been listed anywhere. I already know that my own friends are unlikely to show--my brother has been cast in a play; Patricia has to pick up her son; and as I fought my way through traffic, I thought, really, who would drive through this to come. But my old classmate Katherine Taylor shows up early, then a student and his boyfriend. We sit and talk informally, consider going for drinks, then they convince me to actually read. "Maybe more people will sit down." The reason they have to ask me to begin is that no one from the store is bothering to do anything to start the event. There is no introduction.
Miraculously, more people do sit down once I've begun. Not a huge crowd, but everyone buys multiple copies when we're done. Then I sign stock. Then I have to hunt down someone from the store to give me autographed copy stickers. Then my friends help me sticker the books. Then we shelve the books for the store. Then we leave.
5. I check into my hotel around midnight after finally getting something to eat. I call the airline to move my flight from 7am to 10am. I sleep, but wake up at six to get everything packed again, get my car from the valet, fill the tank and arrive at the airport to discover my flight has been delayed.
6. On the other hand, sometimes no listing is better than one like this: "You know what's really missing from my library? A book about canine rescue dogs. Thank you, thank you, Ken Foster and Dogs I Have Met: And the People They Found! My literary life is now complete." That's the listing in Wilamette Week for my reading at Powell's this coming Monday. The writer, Annie Bethancourt, apparently aspires to be a writer or critic when she's not strumming her guitar and teaching surfing in Costa Rica. Yet it is kind of hard to tell exactly what the point of her snarky tone might be. Does she not like dogs? Does she not like my writing? Did she even look at the book? Nah, if she had, she may have at least noticed that the beginning takes place in her surf-turf: Costa Rica. The most unfortunate part is that she doesn't even get the date of the reading correct.
7. I talk to the dogsitter. Sula is very unhappy and making herself sick. She and I have that in common I guess.