7:10am – Olive wakes up.
7:11am – David & Arielle wake-up.
7:12am – 7:33am – Olive watches Clifford the Big Red Dog. David and Arielle sleep.
7:34am – 7:52am – David & Arielle frantically cram clothes, computer cords and Dora the Explorer coloring books into bags. Olive dresses, dances, sings and asks David & Arielle to read her Dora the Explorer.
7:53am – 7:58am – D, A & O shlep WAY TOO MUCH stuff: suitcases, backpacks, satchels and tote bags, into elevator. O pushes elevator buttons with tremendous glee.
7:59am – 8:08am – A checks out, D negotiates with ridiculously understaffed and thoroughly confused parking attendants until they retrieve the hybrid rental car. O dances, sings, and asks to play tag.
8:09am – 8:12am – A & D cram WAY TOO MUCH stuff into hybrid rental.
8:13am – 8:28am – D drives, A navigates, then fills hybrid tank with gas so they won’t be charged $14 a gallon by Hertz
8:29am – 8:34am – D & A unload WAY TOO MUCH stuff out of hybrid rental onto sidewalk while O dances, sings, and asks to color in her Dora the Explorer coloring book.
8:35am – 8:39am – Good-hearted salt-of-the-Earth Midwestern Hertz employee takes pity on D, A & O and drives them and their WAY TOO MUCH stuff right to Continental check-in.
8:40am – 8:47 – Continental charges us $50 to check a bag and a box of books while O & D play tag.
8:48am – 8:59am – A & D shove WTM stuff through x-ray scanner while O sings American Pie.
9:00am – 9:26am – D, A & O eat truly gruesome breakfast at Carl & Erma’s restaurant inside the Dayton International Airport. Carl & Erma should be ashamed.
9:27am – 10:21am – A tries to get that taste of Carl & Erma out of her mouth while D repeatedly belches fire burps and plays hide and seek, tag and does 50m sprints with O.
10:22am – Continental announces 10:48 flight delayed due to unspecified mechanical issues.
10:23am – D sighs with irritated resignation. A begins to worry. O asks to color in her Dora the Explorer coloring book.
10:24am – 10:48am – A & O color in Dora the Explorer coloring book. D writes blog.
10:49am – Continental announces 10:48am flight delayed indefinitely due to further unspecified mechanical issues. Mechanics have been summoned, but have not yet arrived.
10:50am – D grunts with exasperated frustration. A worries with deeper intensity. O requests juice box.
10:51am – 11:22 – D teaches O to run backwards. Just in case, A makes sure they are booked on next flight out, but there is no next flight out until 8pm. So she books them on flight to Cleveland where they will have to pick up a second plane to get to Newark.
11:23am – Continental announces 10:48am flight delayed even more indefinitely. Mechanics nowhere to be found.
11:24am – D groans with dyspeptic agitation. A worries that D will have nervous breakdown. O announces need to go pee-pee.
11:25am – 11:31am – D takes O into foul hell-smelling men’s bathroom, wondering if the women’s bathroom could possibly be this nastily funkified. O pee-pees. A edits D’s blog.
11:32am – 11:38am – O & D play hide’n’seek, tag, and do 50m sprints. D helps O develop running-backwards skills. O. while running backwards, slams her head HARD, with a sickening SMACK, on the sharp edge of the ledge behind which the Continental employees stand.
11:39am – 11:48am – O howls, yowls, screams, shrieks and cries hysterically. A comforts while D apologies to O. A runs to get “boo-boo ice” while D continues to apologize and comforts O.
11:49am – 11:56am – “Boo-boo ice” relieves pain for O while A gives kisses hugs, and D apologizes some more.
11:57am – 12:09pm – O announces she’s all better and wants to run races. D & O run 50m sprints. A worries.
12:10pm – Continental announces 10:48am flight canceled.
12:11pm – D screams “OH MY GOD!” way too loud! A worries that D may have an aneurism.
12:12pm – O tells D in a sweet voice: “Daddy, don’t freak out.”
12:13pm – D & A crack up. O asks to hold hands & dance.
12:14pm – 12:19 D demands to know what Continental is going to do to compensate him for his suffering. Continental tells him he can have a shitty free lunch. Proving once again: There is no such thing as a free lunch.
12:26-1:40 A reads New Yorker while D & O do some sprints, and run backwards very carefully.
1:41-1:49: D, A & O hump WAY TOO MUCH stuff into tiny, scary, twin propeller airplane.
1:50-1:56: O freaks out when propellers start. A & O happen to be sitting in row right with propellers, which like they’re going to propel right into the plane. O cries. A comforts.
1:57 O calms as the propellers disappear in their speed. A calms. D laments.
1:58-2:30 O, A, & D fly from Dayton to Cleveland.
2:31-2:41 Plane to Newark is in whole other terminal. O, A & D have to schlep WTM stuff for what feels like miles. O decides she no longer wants to carry her suitcase.
2:42-3:31 O & D play tag, sing, dance, pee-pee in foul Cleveland Men’s room, and run 50m dashes. A buys remarkably decent salad, which they all consume.
3:32-3:33 Continental announces that plane is delayed to Newark
3:34-5:15 D makes crazy sounds, A freaks out, O is starting to show signs that a breakdown is impending.
5:16-7:01 O, A & D fly from Cleveland to Newark, happy to be finally really on their way home.
6:50-7:09 O, A & D de-plane, fetch and lug WAY TOO MUCH STUFF to curb side of Newark International Airport. O & D run 50m sprints, dance and play tag.
7:10-7:59 Granville, husband of O’s babysitter, picks up O, A & D and their WTM stuff into Lincoln town car. Granville drives to Montclair while D&A stare like road-burned zombies and O falls into a coma-like sleep.
8:00-8:03: D carries O sleeping into their house and gently places her in her bed. O never stirs. A trundles WTM stuff out of large dark car into home where Joann, A’s mom has a home made dinner waiting to be eaten.
8:04 A & D collapse. Never have been happier to be home…
Thanks to Matthew Cavnar for giving the Book Doctors such a nice shout out.
Thanks to Savannah Ashour for being an awesome editor, writing a beautiful post about our event at B & N upper east side, and being a swell human.
Martha Moody was one of the best Pitchapalooza panelists we ever had. Sharp, insightful, wise, yet kind, she was a veritable font of excellent information. Besides being an author of three excellent books, Sometimes Mine, The Office of Desire, and Best Friends, she is also a doctor, and does lots of give-back work, volunteering as medical director at a clinic for the working poor.
Her advise to aspiring writers: Two paragraphs a day. Words to live by.
The Essential Guide Tour Pitchapalooza #9: An NPR Homey, Finding Happiness @ Books & Co & the Dayton Airport Blues
Exhaustion sat on us like a sumo wrestler as we slouched into Dayton and collapsed in the No Name Hotel. It was one o’clock, and we had a two o’clock interview. There was no one to look after Olive, so we decided that David would do the interview. They wanted us to go to the studio, and we were grumbling about why we couldn’t do it over the phone. But fate had other things in store for us. David power-napped for 27 minutes, rolled out of bed looking like death warmed over–thankfully it was radio. We thought it was just some rinky-dink interview. Turns out it was actually the local NPR affiliate.
When David showed up no one was there. Only tumbleweeds and the ghosts of arts programs passed. But eventually someone showed up. They had no idea who David was or what he was doing there. They looked at him suspiciously. Frankly, he looked quite suspicious. David finally dug out the name of the contact person from his Droid: Shaun Yu. Shaun plopped David in front of the microphone, hit a couple buttons, and away they went. It was a fantastic discussion, about books, publishing, social media, e-books, American culture, and the obsession with being heard in a society where most everyone feels ignored.
Sometimes you meet people in life who speak the same language as you, as if you’d been having a conversation for years, and were picking it up right in the middle, even though you’ve never talked to the person in your whole life. That’s how it was for David and Shaun. Afterwards they discovered that they were Portland homies. David graduated from Reed College, and Shaun from the rival across the river, Lewis and Clark. It was such a pleasure to connect with someone who is so simpatico. We can’t wait to listen to the finished version of the interview.
Then it was on to Books and Co, where we were greeted by one of our ATF (All-Time Favorites) in the book business, Sharon Kelly Roth. This was our third event at Books and Co, and we’ve always been treated like royalty there. Which is surprisingly rare in the book business. Surprising because a relatively large number of bookstores treat writers with disrespect and disdain. Like they don’t understand that they wouldn’t be in business without people who write books (look closely to see us with Newt Gingrich). But Sharon welcomed us with open arms, as she has always done, and even supplied a babysitter—her daughter-in-law, Deborah–for Olive.
We’ve had a great spate of luck with our panelists on this tour. And the run continued in Dayton. We welcomed back a panelist from a previous trip here, Sharon Short. Besides being the writer of many books, including, Death by Deep Dish Pie, she is also the director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. Our other panelist was Martha Moody, author of Something Mine. Both ladies were extremely sharp, while still being kind and gentle. They had spot-on advice for writers about everything from plot and character, to comp titles these authors-to-be needed to know about, to building suspense and telling a story.
Yet again, we heard some amazing pitches. And it was difficult to make a decision about who was the winner. On our list of favorites was a married couple who met each other while looking after their dying spouses. Both had been previously married for over 25 years. They married in hospice where their grief support group was held. They were pitching a book about how to turn grief and gratitude. They had an evangelical feel to them (not in the religious sense!), and they seemed truly committed to helping other people who suffered as they did. But the winner gave a truly stunning pitch for his young adult novel, spinning words mile-a-minute with dizzying alacrity. If his book is anything like his pitch, he has a bestseller on his hands.
Afterwards, Olive insisted on having her own Pitchapalooza, and told us all about the book she’s writing, which is about her best friend Carla. She was unanimously declared the winner.
Right now we are stuck in the Dayton Airport with the Ohio blues again, waiting for “technical difficulties” to be fixed. And they have absolutely no idea when they’re going to get us out. Or in fact, if they will ever get us out. Olive is watching Clifford the Big Red Dog. We are suffering a severe case of road burn, that most modern of afflictions, characterized by extreme ennui, exhaustion and torpor. The current level of threat has been assessed as Orange. Whatever that means. The students are rioting in Britain. A guy in a wheelchair averted an armed robbery yesterday. George Bush is a best-selling author. If that’s not a sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know what is. We are really looking forward to sleeping in our own bed tonight.
Thanks to Morgan St. James and LA Examiner