One of my biggest dreams came true this year with the publication of Falling Under.
Of course, it didn’t all happen the way I imagined it, which means it was both more and less than I expected. I didn’t realize it would be so stressful. I didn’t realize how little control I would have over the process. But I also never dreamed of the friendship and generosity that could be found in the reading and writing community, starting right here at The Debutante Ball.
It pains me to have it end, though of course it is time and I’m certain the community will continue and grow though us and the fabulous 2009 Debs, who you will meet next week.
And now, in our last days here, I’ve got another dream; a daydream of sorts…
In this dream, the 2008 debs all move into houses on the same block, in the same city. All of you readers and friends, plus past and future debs would be there too (only if you wanted to), plus many of our guest authors and writer friends and whatever family members we deem desirable.
Our neighborhood would have artists and musicians and writers, readers of all kinds, a B&N where we would go with our laptops, drink lattes and pretend to write, plus a funky independent bookstore, ideally run by Kathy Patrick (a deb guest author who runs the only bookstore/beauty salon in North America). She would run her wild, wonderful book clubs and we would all go there to get beautified, hang out in our tiaras and talk about books and writing and family and marriage and kids and pets and exercise and chocolate and politics and the state of the world.
On brave mornings, I would meet Jenny and Gail for a crack-of-dawn yoga class. Other mornings I might sleep in, then wander over to grab a cup of coffee with Jess who would be in her backyard tending the garden and watching butterflies hatch, ready with her wicked wit, quirky perspective and penchant for party-crashing. There would be cheese, and I mean that in a good way, since she is from Wisconsin and occasionally even makes false claims of being “from a farm.”
Eileen would see us from her window and make her way over. Even on the grimmest day, (not that we’d have many grim days) Eileen would give us a worldly-wise look and say something that makes us snort and possibly spit out our coffee. Only upon later reflection would we realize how her humor put the day in perspective and made us feel good and normal and human…in the moment we are too busy laughing.
We’d mosey to the front yard just in time to see Lisa peel by in her awesome Mom vehicle on her way to drop her kids off, give 10 interviews, teleport to 14 different cities, write a couple of books, save some relationships and be back to join us for dinner, at which time she would kick back with a lovely glass of champagne and share some of her hysterical, no-nonsense wisdom and trade-secrets with us.
If we were procrastinating (and we would be) we might hop the fence and find ourselves in Gail’s backyard, tiptoeing around her writer’s hut, giggling and peeping in the windows, trying to lure her out with promises of dark chocolate and hot gossip.
Gail would come out, of course. She would be glowing with good health, full of interesting contradictions and complete self-awareness and ready to laugh, listen and ask intuitive questions. And she’d have freshly baked…something…healthy yet delicious…a kind of baked, sweet version of a celery stick, full of antioxidants and such, that we would gobble gratefully, along with our coffee. We would all vow to start running marathons with her and some of us might even do it. (uh, not me, alas)
About that time Jenny’s dogs would escape and she would arrive, post yoga and still retaining some Zen (though Jenny’s Zen might include some wry observations and smart-assed remarks as opposed to “one with the universe” stuff) despite the marauding dogs and crazy parrot, and wearing her signature hot pink. Jenny might have half the neighborhood with her, since she knows everyone, and she’d have told each and every person about all of our books, pushing as hard for us as she does for herself and whipping us into shape to do the same.
We might fly to Florence to lunch, or join Lisa on television for a weekly deb segment, and then all retire to our homes for a late afternoon siesta, some family time, perhaps some self-googling, and finally a bit of writing, since we are all NYT Bestselling authors and our fans, not to mention Oprah, are clamoring for our next books.
In my dream deb neighborhood, we would convene in one another’s kitchens and back yards and never stop talking—offering celebration, commiseration, inspiration and advice, egging each other on, and laughing until there were tears rolling down our faces. We would wear whatever we wanted to, (gloves, tiaras, tutus, sweatpants) speak the truth, dance on the coffee table (okay, that might just be me) and take the world by storm.
(We would also all have house-elves for laundry, house-cleaning and such, and there would be a clubhouse for the deb spouses, complete with ice-fishing, ping pong, poker tables and a beer fridge, in case you’re feeling sorry for the poor men.)
So…dear friends, if you start missing us, imagine us there…and feel free to join us. (BYOB)
Okay…finally and seriously…to Kristy and the founding debs, to our wonderful readers and friends, and to my fellow debs of 2008, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and depths of my soul for this wonderful, crazy, year-long dance. You were magnificent.