When I read Danielle’s post yesterday, I just shook my head. How on earth was I going to follow that? And this was only a fitting reaction, because I had the same one after reading her FIRST post last fall.
Lately I’ve been describing Driving Sideways as a twisted update on The Wizard of Oz, so forgive me if the next few paragraphs are all “Dorothy saying good-bye to the Tin Man and Company before she gets on the hot air balloon.”
To Gail, the first Deb that I met face-to-face: Without knowing me more than a month, you graciously invited me to attend the Wisconsin Book Festival and stay at your house. You introduced me to your friends, put an organic chocolate on my pillow, and your thoughtful son made me a veggie omelet for breakfast the next morning. I so enjoyed getting to know you; you are funny, lovely and kind, and I feel incredibly lucky that we only live about an hour from one another. I don’t mean that in a stalking way, either. But don’t worry, you’re totally stalker-worthy. I mean, if I were a stalker … not that I’d want you to have one … I think I should just move on here.
Jenny, I first saw you in your trademark hot pink chatting with a group of friends in the lobby of our hotel for RWA. I wasn’t sure it was you right away, so I circled a few times, and when I met you, you were so warm and outgoing, and has anyone ever told you what a beautiful voice you have? Thank you for your hospitality that first night (when my luggage had yet to arrive and I was all disheveled and ill-humored), and thank you for your friendship, your honest advice, and for cracking me up regularly over the past year. You really did. And you really do have such a smooth, radio-friendly voice! Can you podcast some things for me? Maybe do my voicemail message? I hate my own voice.
Danielle, I had such fun visiting bookstores with you in San Francisco! I’m honored to have spent your launch week with you, and you can bet I’ll be attending more of your readings in the future. Because you know how to BRING IT! In print, voice, and dance. Also, I will always think you look like Julianne Moore, even if people say you look like Drew Barrymore. And I’m really glad I don’t have to blog the day after you anymore.
Lisa, how much fun did I have rooming with you at RWA? I haven’t stayed up ‘til 2 a.m. talking and laughing with someone in years. You are one of the most savvy writers I know, and you so generously share what you’ve learned. Your tireless dedication to your family and your work inspire me. Heck, just YOU inspire me! Thank you for the laughs and friendship; you are an absolute blast, and if we were in second grade, I’d totally fight the other kids to sit next to you on the bus.
Eileen, my posting buddy, I was thrilled to meet you in Chicago last February during the Midwest leg of your book tour. I had a giddy feeling before we first spoke, because we’d emailed back and forth and I was (and still am) such a starstruck fan. You have taught me so much about both the craft of writing and the business of publishing, and you kept me laughing all the way. You have the best anecdotes ever, and you tell them with aplomb. Do you do parties? Can I adopt you as my big sister? And can you bring your little dogs, too? Daisy would dig them.
You are all talented women of such grace, wit, and heart, and I am honored to know you. Your support and friendship over the past year has elevated an already amazing experience to something so much more meaningful for me. (The sap! It is flowing freely now!)
And to all the readers and guest authors who have made our time as Debs so memorable (and to Kristy for starting it all): thank you, thank you, a thousand thank yous.
I wish the Debs Class of 2009 loads of luck, fun, and love. Any time you feel lost during the sometimes crazy ride that is publishing your first book, just click your mouse three times and remember: there’s no place like home, and sharing the yellow brick road all the way to Oz and back is a wonderful thing.
(After today, you can find me regularly at my own blog here: http://jessriley.blogspot.com. Where I make fun of all kinds of things. Mostly myself.)
PS: Danielle, I am too from a farm.