Last week as I climbed up the single flight of stairs in our building, a woman was walking down and she stopped when she passed me.
“I know who you are, I’ve followed your work for years and I read your book,” she said, “I want you to know that you are a rock star. What you and Dr. Dixie Melillo have done with The Rose, it makes us all proud.”
Totally taken back, I thanked her profusely and smiled. “Rock Star?” I thought climbing the final dozen steps, “Dixie maybe but not me. No, I don’t even like being on stage, that’s definitely not me.”
Yet, publishing the book and running The Rose in general has pretty much meant spending a lot of time “on stage.” Addressing crowds, making presentations, public speaking, all come with the job and each time I find myself in front of another group of people, it forces me a little farther outside my comfort zone. That’s a really good thing especially for an introvert like me, but never easy.
But those kinds of events are a far cry from Rock Star. I laughed at the thought. Then I realized that just a short month ago, my staff and the board of directors sure made me feel like a star.
For the Book Launch, they had thought out every detail, they spent hours organizing the reception, decorating the conference room, bringing in musicians and caterers, plotting the night’s agenda and making sure every guest, all 150 of them felt welcomed. It was a perfect evening. From the pre-reception toast by Pam to Tom’s welcome once the crowd had arrived, everything was first class. I was beyond excited and so grateful.
Somehow I made it through reading a section from the book to the audience– all 334 words of it. I tried my best to avoid that step but my staff insisted. “It is expected of authors.” They said, “You’re supposed to read a segment from your work at a book signing!” Right, I thought, expected. Author? Gulp. Yes guess I am. The thoughts swirled around in my brain, taunting me—I wasn’t a good ‘out loud’ reader but again it was time to step outside that zone.
I watched in total awe as the lines of people formed, holding their book or books and waiting for my signature. Tom had set the stage well in his opening remarks. As a longtime board member, he knew a lot about The Rose, its journey and me. His introduction was playful and set the right tone. For sure, it put me at ease.
I was touched by those who had driven miles to be with me and those I had not seen in decades. I was touched by the many words of congratulations and all the smiles and hugs. What a gift to visit with so many people, and share stories with those who remembered events and people from the past.
That event formally welcomed ‘The Women of The Rose’ into the world. It is my first published book and the Launch was one of the most special times of my entire life. I will always cherish the memories from that night.
To everyone who made that evening possible and yes, for making me feel like a Rock Star for those very special hours: Thank YOU!