I was thinking lately about how I could best be prepared for my book tour this fall. It’s a big one, with fifteen appearances (as of right now), spread across the country, and I’m visiting a lot of new places I’ve never been before. I can’t even imagine what awaits me.
I know a lot of writers don’t like to tour. It can be exhausting. You’re meeting new people all the time, and you have to be nice to everyone whether that’s your natural inclination or not. After the Patti Smith reading the other night I had dinner with Courtney Sullivan and Stefan, two writers who happen to be extremely charismatic, and we talked a little bit about the notion of being a Professional Charmer, and what happens when one Professional Charmer meets another. Sometimes there is a small explosion of love, and sometimes (at the very least!) you get to have great dinner conversation.
But we are not all charming, we writers. Cranky loners is more like it. And even if we are, it is impossible to be well-behaved all the time. But I would consider it a shame if I went out on tour and did not enjoy as much of it as I could, and did not put as much of myself as I can into engaging with all these new people. I am going to meet booksellers and librarians and other authors and people who run book festivals and, best of all, people who are readers. These are my favorite people in the world – why would I not give it my all?
So I’m going into a kind of training for a few months. I’m trying to become the most powerful version of myself. I would like to think that I am always doing this but the truth is I’ve grown slack these many months on the road. When you spend enough time in a car and on other people’s couches your power diminishes, or at least goes into hibernation. It never disappears though, thank goodness. It’s just waiting to be tapped into. If you choose it.
The best version of me is a healthy one, physically and mentally. I’ll up my yoga and meditation. I took my bike into the shop for an extremely expensive tune-up, but I think it’s worth it. I’ll cut down on the booze, the gluten, the dairy. I’m going to read like a motherfucker. Fill my brain with literature and music and art. I’m going to spend time with people I know and love, and no one I don’t. I’m going to focus on viewing the world through a lens of compassion, which is something I’ve been working on more and more as I get older.
God, last night I complimented Maura on her capacity for joy, and I meant it. These are the kinds of compliments I should always be giving.
I am thinking big, for me and for you.