Last week I was pushing hard to finish a book before hopping on a plane for Honolulu to participate in Hawaii’s first Book & Music Festival. I’d been scheduled months earlier to speak but the topic hadn’t been firmed up until two weeks prior and only then was it decided that I’d address, ‘Why Women Need Their Own Story’. Unfortunately, because I’d been writing so hard on my novel, I didn’t have the speech together and crossed my fingers I’d have time to get it done once I arrived in Hawaii.
But once in Hawaii it was difficult to make myself concentrate on the speech. Ty had work, I had interviews–two email and one phone, there were house issues to deal with and soon it was Friday night and the Festival’s Welcome Reception at Bishop’s Museum.
I dragged Ty with me to the reception having explained to him that if he didn’t come I’d end up doing what I always did at these things if I went alone–I’d wander around by myself with a funny fixed smile on my face so no one felt bad for not talking to me. I’m good at serious conversations but not cocktail party chit chat so it was a treat having Ty along to explore the museum with me while listening to the Hawaiian trio and noshing on appetizers and little desserts.
As we explored the museum I worried a little about my speech which still wasn’t written. I was speaking for an hour, on a topic I believe in but didn’t have notes for. But before we left the reception, I was able to introduce myself to a group of Borders management folks including a man I’d worked with last year, Les Honda, the District Marketing Manager for Hawaii and Las Vegas.
I’d never met Les in person and so it was a pleasure to put a face with a name. Les and his crew have been extremely supportive of me, including hosting my book events last Memorial Day Weekend.
But Les wasn’t just professionally polite, as we talked at the reception, he made me feel personally welcome. Hawaii you see is rather closed to outsiders and yet he made me feel like I belonged, and that I was home.
Visiting with Les, I realized I still need to get to know more of the Hawaii booksellers. Few (if any?) know I live in Hawaii part-time and that little by little I’m doing more in the community, speaking to both writer’s groups and civic women’s groups. And why do I speak to women’s groups? It’s the Why Women Need Their Own Story thing, which most unfortunately *still* needed to be put on paper.
Saturday morning I woke up at six and hit the computer to start writing. I was still at the computer three hours later and ended up with 9 pages of speech, stealing bits from articles I posted on my website and making up the rest. I wasn’t sure how coherent it was but I printed it off and Ty dropped me off at the festival grounds in downtown Honolulu. It was a gorgeous day and the festival was already in full swing, with lots of families enjoying all the activities provided for children. The Atrium in the historic City Hall where I was slated to speak wasn’t quite so busy and in fact, was alarmingly empty at 1 when I stepped up to the podium. Happily, within minutes people began to wander in and by the time I was finished there were 45 or 50 in the folding chairs.
At two I signed books at the Borders tent, then visited with Barnes & Noble staff and Brian, the owner of the Hawaiian indie chain, Bestsellers.
Saturday afternoon I was supposed to help man the RWA chapter booth but it was already crowded inside the small tent so I stood outside chatting, including talking to my RWA writer friend Michael Little, when I turned around and saw Somebody Gorgeous watching me. Surfer Ty! Having wrapped up his lessons for the day he’d showered, dressed and headed to the festival to see me. It was the best surprise. I was thrilled. Ty’s smile makes every day feel like Christmas…makes me feel like Christmas.
I don’t need to be a famous, or bestselling author. I just want someone good to love, and someone good to love me back.
And maybe that’s the point of why women need their own story.
We women shouldn’t just live vicariously through fiction. We shouldn’t let paperback heroines have the only happy endings. We should have happy endings in real life, too. We should insist that we be the heroes in our own life.
At the end of the day, the real life matters, the one that is lived with our family and friends. While what happens between pages is interesting, possibly riveting, nothing should be more important than our immediate life, the one we live today.