Alternate title: Writing and talking, impossible!
One of my most favorite experiences of my entirety on Earth was my 2015 book tour for Breathing Water. I love connecting with people and talking about my work, their work, and spending a little time with strangers discussing books.
I’m whatever the super opposite of an introverted is.
There is a part of my soul that thrives on meeting new people.
So I am very anxiously anticipating 2016’s tour for Surface Tension. I can’t wait to do it all once more.
I have one little problem.
The actual signing part is a whole lot of pressure that I crack under every. single. time.
First Problem: Names
Everyone has a snowflake-spelling of a name. Because of this I always, always ask how it’s spelled. An Ashley could be Ashlee, Ashleigh, Ashlie or Ashlé (if your parents are dicks)
So I ask and then listen closely because sometimes they’ll ramble off a string of letters that don’t sound like a name B.R.O.N.W.Y.N.N.
Oh, Bronwynn. That’s a cute name, actually.
And then there is the wonderful awkwardness that accompanies a scenario when I ask for the spelling and bless her little heart the girl says, “E.M.I.L.Y.”
Oh, so it’s regular then. Cool.
But that still doesn’t stop my hand from taking off on it’s own.
For the launch of Surface Tension a lovely woman names Melissa spelled her name for me and so I wrote,
What the fuck, HAND! Would you please do as you’re goddamn told?
That’s me, S.R. Atkinson, adding Y’s and giving out not-cleaver nick-names.
Second Problem: Talking
No one is just going to sit quietly and let me sign their book to them. And really, I wouldn’t want them to. How uncomforatble.
So after we’ve established the proper spelling of their name—and presuming I’ve spelled it right and don’t have to joke about their new nick-name—we can move on to writing something clever and encouraging.
This is the second time in less than 5 seconds that my brain fails me.
For example, I met a woman who was with her mother and sister. All three of them bought a book and chatted with me for nearly 20 minutes. I just adored them all and had a great time. Interactions like these are why I love doing book signings so much.
So when I went to sign her book I wanted to say something about how I enjoyed chatting with her and that I thought her family was wonderful. What I wrote was.
“I love your families spirit.”
What even does that mean?
Do I love their family’s spirit? And what is a family spirit? I’m still embarrassed about that one.
Third Problem: Spelling.
I can spell. I’m a writer and I write—with spelling—all the time!
But I cannot combat the two previous problems of my hand writing what it’s not told and doing it while carrying on a conversation. So I’m passing out signed books with misspellings right there in the inscription.
It’s all too much pressure!
It’s best is when I catch it while I’m doing it and I can show it to the new owner of the book and we can laugh together about ‘do you even write, bro?’
But when the book leaves my hands and the customer leaves the store and all of a sudden I’m like, DID I JUST WRITE ‘FAMILIES SPIRIT’!!
Fail. Book signing fail.
*If you want to see this hot mess in action, here’s a schedule for my upcoming book tour for August 2016. Hope to see you there, give you a great new nick-name, and embarrassingly misspell your inscription. It’ll be great fun!*