Today I'm gonna get through the first part of Day One of the trip to Ohio, so let's get right to it!
Waking Up, Leaving, Arriving
When she wakes the next day, there is anticipation. There is trepidation. There is no small amount of anxiety. She pulls herself out of bed, and elects not to look at the white sun slicing through a gap in the curtains. That morning slips by without thought. Should she be afraid? Yes, probably. Is she? No... no, not really.
And why is that? She couldn't tell you. Perhaps it is only that she has no idea what to expect, and therefore can't freak out... yet. Her hour of signing is at 3. And although she thinks about it very little, consciously... it is always at the back of her mind. A clock, ticking. Incessant. Reminding. Almost nagging, but gentler.
Dressed, and as mentally prepared as she knows how to be, her mother and she go down the elevators, across two crosswalks and stand before the door of the massive Duke Energy Center. No choir sings at the sight of its interior. No alarms scream for her to turn and run. In fact, maybe she is disappointed. Not at the massiveness of the building, for it was truly breathtaking, but with her own lack of excitement. Perhaps it is to come later.
Up an escalator. Up another directly to its left. The second floor. Registration. They are pre-registered, and all they have to do it print their badges, and receive a lanyard. There are Blue lanyards for vendors, and Green and Orange lanyards for buyers, either store stockers, or store owners.
Through a massive hall. Up another 40 step escalator (yes, she counts them. In fact it is 44 steps from bottom to top at any given time. Unless one walks up while being "escalated". Then there are only 24. She finds the discovery intriguing). Then up one more of just the same size. Then, the showroom floor. There are displays from various booths, but their attraction is small.
The Ballroom calls.
The Duke Energy Center Ballroom. Is the rest of the the center breathtaking? No. Not in the least compared to this. The ceiling soars 20, 30, maybe even 40 feet above her head. From the roof hangs swaths of warm, woody fabric that sways gently in sweeping arcs from one end of the room to the other. Lights dot them with more warmth, and the ceiling vanishes into the heavens. Unmissable, and yet invisible to those within.
Booths are everywhere, people shuffle about, the blue, the green, and the orange lanyards, each doing what they please how they please to do it. For a long moment, the sheer size of the ballroom is the only things that arrests her, and then it is all the things. Books everywhere. Merchandise everywhere else. People filling in the places in between. Walking straight back, a map in hand guiding them toward the Carpenter's Son Publishing booth, #517. They find it in the grip of an author and his wife signing a book on marriage. He is warm, welcoming, and not shy.
She cannot say those things for herself. Perhaps this will be harder than she expected. She meets Larry Carpenter. Her publisher, known to her only by his voice over phone calls. She meets Jeff Carpenter, his son. She met Craig Carpenter (also Larry's son) on ono of the Escalators earlier. He is her web designer. Also, the coolest dude on the planet. *note: I'll explain that reference at the end. ;)
She is advised to go down to the press room and take a look around. Earlier that week, she received an email stating that a woman by the name of Donna Feyen was interested in interviewing her about her book and her personal story as a young author. However, she has not heard back from her, and there will be no interview today.
Through a dark, cold and somewhat creepy hall is the press room.
The press room problem
She meets Donna Feyen right after an interview the lady has just conducted. She is bright, smiling and enthusiastic. She sets up an interview for the next day at 10:30. Again, should there be excitement? Yes, probably. Is there? No... not really. Should there be fear? At least trepidation? Yes. Of course there should. But is there? No. No, not really. The feeling is odd, and she seems unable to shake being unshakable. Is it a good thing? Perhaps. Boring? Perhaps.
The Press Room Problem is advertisement. She is unprepared. She has nothing to leave on the media table there. Thus begins the problem. She needs a picture with her face on it, a cover of the book and something indicating when and where her book signing will be that afternoon. They have the picture, the book and business cards with contact information. But nothing that indicates the When and the Where. So they end up back at the hotel, trying to hand write something sufficient.
Her mother succeeds, and they head back to the Energy Center. Inside they head for the press room... But where is the press room? Is it up the escalators again? What about through this mammoth corridor? Where are the ballrooms? Where is she?
Yes. Lost. Completely. Clueless as to how to get to the Press Room. They meet a woman named Sonya. Sweet as can be, and funny. She shows them another route to get to the room. A circle the size of a city block, but they are there. And no dark hallways along the way. Her mother lays out the pictures and the information just so, and it's back to the ballroom to look around.
There is just so much. Shirts, bracelets, Bibles, keychains, hats, necklaces, money jars, paintings, art supplies, trinkets, coffee mugs, games, and books, books, books, and books. So many books. So many authors she's never heard of. So many people trying to sell their product. Yes. It's overwhelming. No, she doesn't leave.
She stays and walks around, that clock tick-tock-ticking in her head. A buzz begins. Is this the excitement? The fear? Any of it? She can't be sure, but it's there. Now nagging. Compelling her to check the time every few minutes, on the edge of her seat.
Soon it's 2. And time to bring in the books.
Alright people. That's all for now, this entry is getting long. I'll get to the signing part of that trip in my next entry, which I'll publish ASAP!
HANG ON! About what I said about Craig being the coolest dude on the planet... As my web designer, it fell to him to put in an example book order to make sure the website was working properly. So, he sent a request saying that he wanted one copy of the book and that he wanted it signed. Also, personalized: "Please say that Craig is the coolest dude on the planet."
Of course, it was a joke. Just to be funny. But when the time came, I signed it that way. He was pleasantly surprised.
There is more to that story that I'll get to in the next blog. ;)
Love to all.
Okay! THIS ENERGY CENTER WAS VERY VERY VERY MASSIVELY HUGE ALRIGHT? I hope I conveyed that already but if I did not then WOW. Just WOW. It's the biggest building i think I've ever been in to date. No joke. It was M A S S I V E !
My. Feet. Oh... my gosh. They were very upset with me after that. It was like "Nope! Forget you, we are NOT carrying you anymore if you're going to abuse us like that. We quit!"
Ever had your feet do that to you?
Comment to let me know if you agree. :)