If You Send Pam to a Book Event in San Francisco

First she'll want to do the reading. Reluctantly.

This past weekend, I had my first real, brick-and-mortar bookstore reading/event at Books Inc. at the Opera Plaza in San Francisco. At 6:30, no one had arrived and I was beginning to think this whole thing was a bust and I would go home with a case of wine and my tail between my legs. To kill the time till 7, I chatted up a woman who couldn't make the reading but wanted to buy the book. She told me about the death of her beloved dog. He died two weeks ago and her eyes filled with tears as she told me about rescuing him and what he meant to her. I listened, instead of excusing myself to the bathroom and hiding, which I might have done a few years ago. 

A little before the start time, people began to show up and take their seats. My heart began to pound in my chest and I could feel that familiar fight or flight response take over. I rode it out. By the end of the read, I felt pretty okay. And then people approached me and wanted me to sign their books, which made me feel like a total rock star, which I think is important now and again for people who like to sit alone and pour their little vulnerable hearts out onto the page.

Here I am reading in front of real, live people and I'm not dying. My mouth got really dry and my pits were working overtime, but I lived to write this blog post!

Then she'll want to go celebrate Independent Bookstore Day and see one of her favorite writers at Pegasus Books.
Here I am meeting Mary Roach. I felt like I was meeting Mick Jagger, I was so nervous.
After that, she'll want to go eat at some fancy dancy restaurant with a view to celebrate the fact that she met a famous writer.

We ate at "The Dead Fish," Despite the odd name, the view was spectacular and the food and company were too! Hi Darrell. I don't hate you. I just have resting bitch face and I'm a little reserved when I first meet someone.
At the end of our meal, a couple of raccoons trekked up that leafy cliff towards our table and were rewarded with scraps of sourdough bread.

The next day, she'll probably want to go somewhere else because she's in the Bay Area. She's got time to kill and she really likes pretending that she knows something about wine, but in all reality her unsophisticated palate likes varieties in the under $10 range. There was none to be found at these two wineries.

Domaine Carneros. The champagne was terrific. Actually, it's not really champagne as it's not from France. It's sparkling wine.
We had to go here. I have an embarrassing Hess story. It involves my dad and a Broadway play and vomiting in a crowded theater.
 And if you go to Napa and drink expensive wine and eat even more expensive pasta, then you definitely need to go to the Columbarium in San Francisco the next day because thoughts of your own mortality creep in, just like the gnats that land and die in your $14 glass of wine.

I had no idea this place existed and it is magnificent. I am sure it is super pricey, but it was wonderful.

Kitty cremains.

Look at that ceiling!

I am going to leave you with a quote from Emmitt Watson, who is a caretaker and tour guide  at the Columbarium. It is from the literature that they give you in the office.

"What makes this place special is that people come here and they're comfortable. After services here, they don't run away. They take time, look around the building, enjoy it. There's a difference here from a regular cemetery--this is death disguised. The style, the colors...I'm in here all the time and I forget that death is all around me."

I love that. I love this place, but I still want my cremains in a Ritz Carlton ashtray. If someone wants to take a picture of one with the stamp, send it my way!

So, I realize it's hard as Hell to comment on blogger posts, so if you liked this post, just click that you were here and we'll call it good. If you want to share on Twitter or Facebook that would be cool too.  But if you really want to help a writer out, you'll listen and share this awesome podcast with me and Dan Higgins. Do it. I triple dog dare you.

Here is the podcast.

Next stop New Orleans!