tour dispatch #1: a day

April 6th, 2010

There are things I love about Oregon and things I hate about Oregon and basically I had them both all wrapped up in one big, crazy ball last night at the kickoff reading for the If I Stay paperback tour, or as I’m calling it If I Stay: The Musical Tour.

The thing I hate about Oregon, about the Pacific Northwest in general, is the weather. And it was horrific yesterday. Last night, blowing wind, snow in higher elevations, downed trees and electric lines. Which meant that the reading, the kickoff of the tour, could’ve been spookily empty because this weather was nasty even for Oregon standards. It’s April, for chrissakes.

But the thing I love about Oregon—aside from the fact that the Portland airport where I’m now sitting offers free WiFi allowing me to kill the hour before my flight getting up a quick blog post—is the people. Not just the group of old friends who are like a second family to me, who, not only came from all parts of the state to come to the reading, but who also made the crazy logistics of being up here with my two kids do-able. Because yesterday, it was kind of crazy. Not just crazy. Insane. Consider this schedule.

6 a.m. Wake up (Denbele is an early riser. Me, too, esp when I’m full of nervous energy). Hang with our wonderful friends Greg and Diney–Godaddy and Godiney as they’re known. Protect Denbele from their dog Faye, who is really adorable, but is, you know, a dog.

10 a.m. Go to breakfast at Slappycakes, this genius restaurant where the kids got to make their own pancakes at a table that has a hot griddle in the middle and I only had to save them from third-degree burns six or seven times. Meet up with my fairy godmother. Yes, I have one. She gives me dresses, but mostly vintages purses.

11 a.m. Go to Powell’s because it’s freezing cold and raining and the cool museum is closed and we’re in Portland and it’s Powell’s and Godiney works at Powell’s! Books for everyone! That’s the girls with their Godadday and Godiney. And Nick, too.

Noon: Put girls down for nap. Drive over to swanky hotel where I’m staying that night after family leaves. Practice for reading. Shower. Meet up with old friend Dr. Jen Larson. Catch up on the last 5 years. Eat food.

4 p.m. Drive with fairy godmother and Dr. Jen Larson back to Godaddy and Godiney’s house. Get girls, Nick and suitcases. Drive to my friend Dana and Gary’s house, home to Willa’s Portland BFF, Ainsley. Dana’s mom, Grammy Cami is watching the little ones for the evening. Drop girls off. Bow at Cami’s feet.

6 p.m. Get insanely lost on the way to Beaverton Powell’s.

6:15 p.m. Feel a little freaked out by the fact that a) the Beaverton Powell’s is in a shopping mall and b) it appears as though a tornado might be hitting Portland.

6:30 p.m. Stare out at the empty chairs in the bookstore and start to worry. Enjoy the big poster of me, with the little book in front titled I Am Not A Serial Killer.

6:40 p.m. Meet Lisanne, a very cool, opinionated reader/producer who came to the reading completely Of Her Own Volition. “Wow, I thought this place would be packed,” she tells me. “Must be the weather.” Which makes me feel better. And worse.

6: 50 p.m. Everyone shows up at once, including several people I don’t know and a bunch of people from the kidlit community like Lisa Schroeder and L.K. Madigan.

7:05 p.m. Showtime

7:30 ish p.m. Finish my reading and get lots of questions, including an awesome one from L.K Madigan, which I will now steal in the future. Hers was: “Advice for writers in five words or less.” My answer was: “The muse visits when you’re writing.” Which is six words. Sue me. My point being, the ideas come to you when you’re actually writing, not when you’re sitting on a beach staring at the sunset. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing that, too..

7:45 p.m. Sign lots and lots of books. Yay!

8:40 p.m. Grab a bite to eat with friends who I have not seen in ages. By the time we get settled, the Happy Hour menu has kicked in so we’re all very excited by the $4 Ceasar  salads and $7 Angus burgers with fries.

9:40 p.m. Drive back to Portland to pick up sleeping girls to get them to the airport. They’re flying home with Nick tonight while I continue on tour. Get completely lost getting out of Beaverton owing to the fact that my husband left his glasses at home and cannot read the Google Maps app on my genius phone, I mean iPhone. Yell at husband. Feel bad about that.

10:15 p.m. Pick up warm, sleepy girls out of bed. Drag them into cold rainy night. Drive them to airport.

10: 45 p.m. Walk family into airport and sneak into the TSA security line to help Nick fold the stroller, get the car seat onto the security belt, get various shoes off, sippy cups emptied, backpacks on. (Fairy godmother is also with me. She really is a fairy godmother.) Get in trouble with TSA for sneaking past the boarding pass checkpoint. Willa gives me one her headbands and says “For you to remember me by.”  Almost die.

10:47 p.m. Realize I have all the sippie cups with me and will now be dragging them on tour with me. They are just too expensive to throw away and buy new ones.

11:30 p.m. Get back to hotel. So tired I cannot even sleep. So thankful for my family, my friends, and the random strangers who came out tonight and made this whole crazy night happen (this whole crazy book happen) that I don’t even mind the rain lashing against my window.

12:15 a.m. Fall asleep.

  1. Sounds exhausting and exciting!
    I love you and wish you all the best on this world wind tour of the country.

  2. very funny to read before go to
    thanks ;)

  3. Pssst – Gayle – you can give the sippy cups to your media escort in Seattle. She will ship them back home for you – they do this kind of stuff all the time! Hope you are having fun. Call me with updates!
    xo, Allison

  4. Sad/Happy that it was so crazy. Man that was a jam-packed schedule. Hopefully you won’t get to lost coming down to Florida. Books entrance is kind of hidden but the inside is…Wow! ;)

  5. Neither wind nor rain nor downed power lines could keep me from your event … although they tried!

    It was great to meet you – I hope our paths cross again.



  6. “For you to remember me by” -hahaha classic.

    Also, “I Am Not a Serial Killer”? The part of my brain dedicated to watching “Criminal Minds” and “Law & Order” is only a little interested…

    Glad you’re having such a successful tour so far!

  7. Miss you! Excited for Monday night! xoxo

  8. I wanted to go so bad but was there Saturday for Kimberly Dertings signing. I might have gone anyway if it wasn’t for the weather and having two small kids and no sitter. I’m so glad people showed up! I’m sad I didn’t get to go :( Hopefully next time!

    Kimberly also made a comment about I Am Not a Serial Killer as it was in the background of most of her pictures. Kinda funny…

  9. Thanks for sharing all the details so that those of us who couldn’t be there can share the visit through your eyes!

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