Friday, July 25, 2014

Living the Dream

Last Tuesday was one of those absolutely gorgeous summer days with plenty of sun, temperatures in the low 80’s, low humidity and a gentle breeze that was making the wind chimes in the corner of the back porch sing intermittently. So content was I that I totally ignored the ringing of my cell phone as well as the tiny ping that tells me I have voice mail. It was not until half an hour later that I took myself out of my weather-induced coma and looked at the phone. 

“Toni,” the voice inside said, “this is Jack Firneno, editor of the Bucks County Midweek Wire and I am calling because I would like to know if you will be available for a phone interview…” What? And then, my head went to brain freeze, An interview? Why? What have I done? Am I in trouble? 

And finally, Wait! The book! He wants to interview me about the book. Oh my God! What should I do?What should I say? What should I wear?

I almost dropped the phone, then steadied myself long enough to send texts out to several people including my daughter Cindi, who responded: Stop. Breathe. You’ll do fine. You’ll be great, Mom. Just relax. Remember that you can ask questions too, if there’s something you don’t understand. But above all Mom, don’t’ babble! I read her message over and over and even wrote it out in long hand, trying to memorize it so I would remember it during the interview. 

Ten minutes before the appointed time, I was again sitting on the back porch, as ready as I'd ever be, waiting for the phone to ring again. 

When it did, Jack’s questions were deep and thoughtful and the interview went well.. I relaxed.I listened. I asked questions when necessary and most of all, I did not babble. 

But it wasn't until the next day, while checking one of the the facts I had given Jack, that the  full import of what was happening hit home. Suddenly I realized I was sitting in a coffee shop (okay it was a McDonald's) reading my own book! I allowed that sensation to sink in for a few more minutes until finally I got up. Then with my hand on the ladies room door, I was struck again. Oh my God, oh my God,  I'm living the dream - and as the door swung open - I am living the dream!

Friday, July 18, 2014

At the Beach

It's summertime and the living is easy. Or, at least, it is as long as you are inside with air conditioning or at the shore. Which is where I spent two days last week (and took this pic).

On the beach, I looked down at see the sand between my toes and up to see a perfectly blue cloudless sky. It was easy to fall into a light sleep there, listening to the crescendo of waves until the sound of a child’s voice calling “Mommy, mommy,” woke me. Later I slept again, then awoke to find that I had been resting somewhere between contentment and bliss. 

When I opened my eyes, I saw a woman on crutches standing at the water’s edge.  How did she get there? I wondered. A toddler went running away from his mother as another, slightly older child, in a neon pink bathing suit ran in the opposite direction, away from the same mother. 

Later, in the evening, I dined on seafood and walked the boards, eating fried oreos and watching the tide come in. Back at the hotel, fattened and content, I laid my head on a pillow and dreamt of another tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Wanted You to Stay

I miss my buddy. I miss my friend. I miss the man who once called me the love of his life and who was the love of mine. Sometimes when it rains, I feel as though I am looking for him between the raindrops and sometimes when it’s bright outside, I look for him in sunlight.

I miss him and because I miss him, I am reading a book called Answers About the Afterlife by Bob Olson, although God knows, I am not looking for answers, but for him.  The book is reassuring, saying he is not dead, saying he is alive but in a form different from ours – yours and mine. It says his spirit vibrates at a level higher than ours.

It says that he is nearby, that he is close to me, that he can read my mind - read my thoughts – and that if I want, I can speak to him out loud, as though he is in the room because, after all, he is. I read that one night and fell asleep feeling safe, feeling close to him. 

In the morning when I awoke, my eyes fell first on the space beside my bed, then on a white wicker chair at the foot of my bed. And then, looking at each, I asked out loud: Are you here? Are you there? And, feeling like someone from Dr. Seuss, Are you anywhere?

I miss my friend. I miss my lover. I will miss the love of my life for the rest of my life. For him I wrote a poem. For him I would write an epic.

I Wanted You to Stay

Where have you gone?
I never wanted you to go.
I wanted you to stay.

Lost is your smile,
The arms that held me strong,
The heart that beat with mine.

Where have you gone?
Are you lost forever?
Lost from my eyes

No. No. You cannot be lost. 
You cannot be gone.

Not for as long as
I hold you
Inside my heart…

Hold you 
Inside my heart 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My First Book Signing – for Real This Time

I did my first book signing yesterday. It was kind of impromptu and was mentioned only on Twitter at practically the very last minute. This signing occurred at my son-in-law’s shop, Kurt’s Magic World, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania and because it was a holiday, I didn't know what to expect. The only way people who are not on Twitter knew I was there, was from a small sign posted in the shop’s front window. 

My first sale was to Kurt’s friend Marlon, who from my daughter, knew the book was about my Italian upbringing.  He said he was buying it for his mother who was also Italian and could probably relate to it. I thought that was sweet, but it was only the beginning.

About an hour later, a young man rushed into the shop and up to the table where the book, Rude Awakening, were displayed.  “Oh, is this the book?” he asked, touching it as though he thought it was the Holy Grail.  Of course, I loved it. 

“I don’t have any money,” he said.  “I just wanted to see it.”  I smiled and asked his name.  He told me and said he was a student.  After we spoke for a moment, he smiled and left and I found myself wondering if he felt as good after this brief encounter as I did.

Later, a woman and her daughter came in looking exultant after finding me sitting behind the table.  “Wow, we just love the title and had to come in,” one of them said while the other said, “We love the picture on the cover, too.  After buying the book, the woman said her name was Anita and that she lived in Harleysville.  She also said it was her birthday – she was born on the Fourth of July. 

All in all it was a delightful night for me and a sweet, sweet start to my book signing career.  And to celebrate, I would like to give away a copy of the book to the first person to comment below.