I am currently on an airplane headed to Little Rock, Arkansas. I don’t want to be in this airplane seat. Nor am I thrilled about landing in Little Rock and making the normally painless drive to the town of Conway, where I grew up. I’ve made that trip countless times. This one, however, is different. This time I am on my way to promote by inaugural book, The Demon in Disguise, at the Faulkner County Library. It’s odd, almost unseemly, to promote a book about your father’s murder and mother’s kidnapping. The promotion feels cheap—and wrong. I want to scream until my lungs burn, but I can’t. I am trapped in seat 3E, and a disturbance from a crazy woman won’t go over well with aircraft authorities, not to mention the poor soul in 3D getting needed shuteye.
My thoughts swirl. What do I say to the assembled group? What parts of the book should I read? How will I fare during the Q&A? What should be my game plan? Will people want me to sign the book?
I’ve no idea. It all feels absurd.
Who will attend? Will people who were around when the awful events occurred be there? What will be their attitude? How will they respond to me? Will they hate me for writing the book? Do I care? What happens if nobody shows up? WHAT IF?
As I sit strapped in my small iron chair, my husband in 3F is enjoying a mouth-watering spread of cheap red wine and goldfish. His head is buried in one of his many Zen books, as he contemplates his next tattoo. He insists on showing me the shortlist of design candidates, wisely distracting me from the worry of tomorrow. We laugh. He reads my rough book event notes, a hodgepodge of chicken scratch. He laughs. He engages me on a wide range of subjects, everything but the task at hand. We go back and forth. I’m grateful. The wonderful repartee helps alleviate my anxiety.
How am I going to finish this blog? How should I?
I do a mental shrug and table it.
Maybe the book signing tomorrow will inspire me—maybe. Who knows what tomorrow holds? Who ever knows? A lesson I learned painfully, as recounted in the Demon in Disguise.