An everyday god on the road
As you probably know, I’ve been on the road since last Tuesday, talking about The Murder of Mary Russell in a variety of bookstores, tea shops, and even an opera house.
During that time, I’ve also been listening to the talk about it, in person and on Facebook, and I’m so very happy that you’ve been loving it even more than I. A book tour is a strange thing. Airports are diabolical in their ability to play on the nerves, airline apps that work fine one day turn their backs the next. E-boarding passes vanish. One scuffles onto and off of planes, sometimes on the same day–yesterday I landed in Austin at one, did an event for Book People at two, and got back on a plane at five, leaving my poor brain to wonder…What just happened there?
Even stranger is what it does to the self. Fifty weeks a year, I sit in my study and push words around on paper and screen, muttering snippets of dialogue under my breath, breaking off to make a cup of tea or greet the UPS lady in the driveway. I cook dinner, unload the dishwasher, do the laundry, tell myself I really need to mop the floor. Groceries need buying, packages need mailing at the post office, and grandsons demand complicated structures involving pvc pipe and golf balls on the deck.
Then I come on tour, and I’m a god. Beautiful and intelligent young women stand before me with shaking hands and halting tongues, trying to express how much it means to them that I deign to speak my gracious words in their direction. Lawyers and teachers break into smiles and say that they’ve been taking joy in my work since The Beekeeper’s Apprentice came into their hands twenty years before. People at the end of the line bend to unload a vast stack of clearly read and loved books that have been awaiting my signature since the collection began many years before.
And they leave with The Murder of Mary Russell treasured in both hands, as if I’ve given them a gift rather than made them spend $28 for a few hours’ reading.
And all that? It makes the airport hassles vanish in the past.