Ever feel like a schmuck? I have the cure. In no particular order, here are some exciting or dreary adventures that happened to me whilst on the road or giving local readings. Feel better about yourself immediately upon reading!
The bookstore owner giving the reading got my name wrong, my genre wrong, and said the novel (Tongues of Angels) was self-published when it small-press-pubbed. I may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Read more about this memorable event here.)
The Portland bar that was supposed to premiere the Rebel Girl cocktail for the Doris Diaries debut forgot and did not buy any of the ingredients. Disappointing, after much ado, publicity, hoopla and advertising. Luckily, they had other alcohol. Lots of it.
A second bar later on the same tour also did not buy the ingredients for the drink, and the owner was sick, leaving his right-hand man, a waiter, in charge. The right-hand man was annoyed at having a reader in the restaurant and only grudgingly set up the mic. He then stood in front of me, blocking me from the audience, as I was reading, and later, yelled at me in French from the back of the room. Yes, I was heckled in French in a Mexican restaurant in Arizona.
A city library had zero attendees for my reading. I had bought advertising in the town ahead of time, sent flyers around, PRed like crazy, and so did the library. Two librarians came and listened to my presentation. We all felt like schmucks.
I basically had to change my entire poetry reading at the podium because someone had brought impressionable children, just old enough to ask questions. The selection I had prepared was a romantic/sexy set of poems, and – I just couldn’t do sexy talk in front of the kids. Awkward? Yes.
I pride myself on my vintage costumes when reading from The Doris Diaries. At a local reading for the first volume, I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do, I wore a lovely green ensemble, authentic from underpinnings outward. When I took my seat, I heard seams tear, I felt elastic give, and suddenly I was a sausage bursting its casing. With 50 people watching. #Sexy? You betcha.
At another reading soon after, I wore a different vintage dress, less sausagy, but with some beautiful ribbon scrolls all around the skirt. As I waited for the reading to begin, I sat at a table and signed books. When I rose to go to the platform and read, the ribbonwork caught on the arm of the captain’s chair and tore out the back of the dress. I kept my front to the audience and kept smiling, despite the draft.
I prepared a standard bio for the bookstore host to read in introducing me, but he scrapped that and instead, rewrote it in rhyme form (not his strong suit). I have blanked out most of the words, but what still haunts me is that final jarring line: “She’s always racy – Julia Park Tracey.” #fml
I gave a poetry reading and had brought along my book, Amaryllis, for sale. As I grabbed one of them to sign, the book flipped open and I realized that the innards of the book were wrong. The inside sections were put together incorrectly, and the poems and acknowledgements were mixed up. Obviously a mistake at the printer – five years ago. I wonder in horror how many of those have been sold. #thingsthatkeepmeupatnight
The time I was on tour, taking Amtrack from city to city, and the crew got my suitcase off the train but not my books. That’s right. Book store, no books. Ring this up: No sale.
I’m not done writing books or giving readings, so I expect I’ll have more adventures to add to this list in the next few months. (I’m in the throes of promoting Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop as we speak.)
Sunday, October 6, 4 p.m.
Occidental Center for the Arts. Book Launch: Reaching for the Moon. Doris Diaries, Vol. 2 with Julia Park Tracey. Further adventures of Doris Bailey Murphy in the Roaring Twenties.
Slide show and reading, “Doris on Horseback,” featuring Doris and her adventures with cowboys, horse racing, and her beloved steed, Mac. And also more cowboys.
Free admission but donations happily accepted! Refreshments sold. (This center was one of Doris’s pet projects, so any donations would have pleased her immensely.)
OCA, 3850 Doris Murphy Ct., Occidental. Wheelchair accessible. Further information: 707-874-9392. (NOTE the address!)
Thursday, Sept. 26, 5:30-7 p.m.
Come to the Heathman Hotel’s world-famous library to meet author Julia Park Tracey, sample Oregon’s pinot noir and the Rebel Girl cocktail invented for Doris. Hear excerpts from the Doris Diaries mentioning the Heathman by name, and enjoy the literary elegance of this renown hotel.
The soiree takes place in the Heathman’s priceless mezzanine library containing autographed books only by the authors who have stayed at the hotel. The two volumes of the Doris Diaries will be joining the elite collection. http://portlandlibrary.heathmanhotel.com/aboutlibrary.aspx
Doris Bailey met friends and paramours at the “New Heathman” many times in 1928 and 1929. She posted letters and listened to the pianist play. The Heathman is celebrating its 90th anniversary and welcomes readers and fans to an elegant cocktail soiree to meet the diaries’ editor and conservatrix, Julia Park Tracey, reading from “Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (1927-1929).”
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m.
Celebrate the release of Julia Park Tracey’s second volume in the Doris Diaries series, “Reaching for the Moon,” at a 1920s Hollywood glam-night at The Hollywood Theatre in Portland. Doris Bailey was at the Hollywood the night it opened in 1926, and saw many films there. We’ll celebrate with a silent film, some bubbly and a book-signing. Admire the shiny new marquee at the Hollywood, too!
1920s attire and costumes highly encouraged!!
“Wings” is a 1927 American action silent film about two World War I fighter pilot friends, both involved with the same beauty, produced by Lucien Hubbard, directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures. “Wings” was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the first of only two silent films to do so.
Reading: “Doris and the Movies,” at 6:30; film at 7.
Tickets are $8 and $6 for seniors/students and $5 for members of the Hollywood Theatre.
“Reaching for the Moon” will be available for purchase and book signing. (“I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do” will also be available.)
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m.
Doris Bailey (of The Doris Diaries) was the daughter of a prominent Portland businessman and architect: Luther R. Bailey. He designed and built more than 100 homes in Irvington and Rose City Park in the Craftsman style, as well as stately homes, clubhouses, a theatre and church, and helped design the Vista House. Luther Bailey was a business leader and peer of Marshall Dana, and other early 20th century civic leaders.
This talk, for members of the Architectural Heritage Center only, will show Bailey’s influence, scope and reach in helping to shape the neighborhoods of Portland in the teens and 1920s. RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The event is free with a $5 suggested donation.
Presented by the editor and conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, Julia Park Tracey. Book signing to follow.