The Essential Guide Tour Pitchapalooza #6: Miss Ida, Daryl & Olive Chillin in Steel Town

Tour City is a strange, simultaneously liberating and alienating place, full of smiling chamber maids who don’t speak English, concierges who are walking wikipedias (or know absolutely nothing), and bell hops who make Olive’s day.
We always assume we’re going to get so much done when we’re going to go on tour because, let’s face it, you don’t have to do dishes, or laundry, or pay bills, or or or. In theory, you’re only working a couple hours a day. Each time, we go on tour, we vow to work out every day, finish writing our novel, and catch up on all of our emails. But the reality is, the days go by lickety split, and everything is slightly exhausting, and you don’t get enough sleep even if you get enough sleep, and instead of working out rigorously, you always, inevitably, end up eating the molten chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and a scoop of ice cream instead. Plus, there’s the relentless pressure of having to not only put on a great show, but make sure there’s an audience that shows up. Occasionally we fantasize about what it must be like to be Sue Grafton, Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood. Where all you have to do is show up and the general public flocks. The frustrating part for us is that we just know there are tens of thousands of writers who desperately need our help wherever we go. From goth teenagers to octogenarian grandmas, soccer moms to newly minted college grads, CEOs to cab drivers, we just know that every city is full of Citizen Authors with dreams of writing successful books. But even in this day of Twitter and Facebook, it’s just hard to connect with and let writers know what we’re up to and how we can help them. And so far this tour has felt a little bit like the classic movie, Spinal Tap. Remember when the band shows up at record stores where the only person in attendance is the incredibly apologetic record company rep? But we keep reminding each other to embrace the joy and feel the love. And in this respect, it’s been an absolute boon to have Olive with us. She doesn’t care whether anyone shows up, she’s just excited about going to a strange new place called Cleveland.
Today, Arielle took Olive down for breakfast and we met Darryl the Bellman. He took us up to one of the three largest ballrooms in the world. Then took us to the special piano room which housed two grand pianos. He sat down and played Scott Joplin rags while Olive danced. As we walked out, an old lady in a classic hotel uniform watched us. Turns out it was Miss Ida who has been working at the hotel since 1951. As we left the hotel today, Darryl handed Olive a yogurt and a spoon that was a gift from Miss Ida. This was all just a reminder of what is truly important in life, to see 50-year-old Darryl and 3-year-old Olive, these two kindred spirits, make such a joyful connection. Despite the difficulties and the challenges, we also keep reminding each other that you never know how and when the tipping point will be reached–when that big piece or some world famous blogger will mention your book in just the right context to send it shooting through the roof.
And then there’s Dayton…Books and Company has been a stalwart for us. We’ve been twice before and both times our events were packed. This is a store that knows how to put on an event, knows how to draw a crowd. Good to know you can always depend on Dayton.