Book tour 101—Part 1

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Saturday:
I missed my flight after throwing everything into a suitcase at the last minute, running out the door and finding I-79 traffic at a standstill for a 20-mile stretch. I tried to detour around said snarl, only to meet the gods of roadway havoc. Thank you, pizza delivery driver who smacked the back end of another vehicle, causing an equally bad snarl on that two-lane, curvy road.
Met a really nice Southwest ticket agent, who spent about 30 minutes trying to find another flight for me, to no avail. So instead, she booked me for the first Sunday morning flight and gave me a voucher for a discounted hotel stay. By then I was so tired and unwilling to take I-79 anywhere, that I got a room and looked forward to an evening of relaxation and a good night’s sleep.
However, the gods of restlessness interfered, and after 2.5 hours of sleep, the perfumed sheets woke me up with a burning sensation in my nose and throat. Thank you, gods of allergies. (And hotel chains that didn’t get the memo about the allergic reactions such “luxuries” lead to.) As if I needed to be awake at 2:30 a.m., when I had hoped to catch up on missed sleep, intent upon waking only when the alarm went off at three hours later.
Sunday:
Arrived at PIT more than two hours early, had a leisurely stroll through the terminal and security lines, took a few pictures showing airport history, and even had time to sit down and eat breakfast—a burnt English muffin and oatmeal so thick it caused the plastic spoon to bend in half. At the gate, I was the passenger everyone else had to wait on, when the buzzer went off and declared I shouldn’t, after all, be on that particular flight. The gods of chaos were obviously awake, too, fast at work again.
The PIT-DEN leg was three hours. I took one of the few remaining window seats in the rear of the plane, and felt sorry for the poor man who was stuck in the middle beside me. Husky and tall, he was built for a bigger seat than comes standard on today’s planes, and he looked like a tuna crammed into a can. But he was very nice, said he was going to Denver for federal training and, as it turns out, he lives in Morgantown. I invited him to my Oct. 29 book signing at Barnes and Noble.
Once we landed at DEN, I had another nice leisurely stroll and ate a much better lunch than I did breakfast, then lined up for the next flight. Was buzzed again at the gate, but that was quickly sorted out, and I found myself in another window seat, next to a UCSF nursing student. She did bring a book, she told me—her college textbooks, to study—when I asked. She seemed very nice, and since I was carrying extra copies of Sister of Silence, I gave her one. Then promptly fell asleep for an hour-long nap. Until the toddler behind me kicked me once too many times, waking me up.
The nursing student was still reading SOS. “I’m so engrossed in your book!” she said. “I’ll feel bad if you don’t get your homework done,” I replied. (She was such a sweet girl, and intent upon her profession so she can help people, and I hate to admit I’ve forgotten her name. Maybe my poor brain will recall it, once I’m no longer sleep-deprived.) By the time I arrived at OAK, I had figured out exactly how I could get transportation, find an outfit for Monday’s TV interview before the stores closed, and get to my lodging in time to keep from passing out from sheer exhaustion.
But since I still had to eat, I called the Berkeley, Ca., therapist who is using Sister of Silence with her patients. “If you don’t mind to eat and talk, we can still meet, since I need to grab a bite before going to bed,” I told her. Jean Shimosaki took me up on the offer, and that’s how we ended up at Burmese Superstar, where I had one of the best meals I’ve eaten in recent days. Affordable and different, with great flavors and an equally good wait staff, it was very nice.
I asked Jean what it was about the book that caused her to use it with her patients, and how, exactly, was she doing that. What she told me made me feel really good, because, as a therapist, she understood completely why I used italicized text to separate my thoughts from my actual spoken conversation. (This was not just a formatting decision: it was a major decision I made while revising, and I wavered on it for several months, unsure of whether this particular technique would work with readers. Apparently, it is!)
According to Jean, the italicized text shows the thought process that occurred within me, as I began my healing journey. That’s really important, since some patients don’t understand what exactly it is they need to do to begin healing. The italicized text, Jean said, serves as a roadmap, and by reading the portions of the book where I have done this, they can be helped to see what work they need to do, to heal from their abuse.
I was sound asleep by the time my friend came home to find Goldilocks in her bed, and I never even heard her digging around in the dresser for her own Monday outfit. Sunday ended on a very, very good—even a high—note. Gods of chaos and frustration: one point. Daleen: five points. (Because I’m keeping score, and I say so.)
To be continued . . .


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