Since publication of Oil and Marble on March 1st:
2.5 months. 18 states. 83 book talks.
New York Times Sunday Book review.
Los Angeles Times Bestseller.
Sold out of first edition in first week.
ABC. NBC. PBS. NPR.
Signed over 1,000 copies.
Sold out out of books in Los Angeles, San Diego,
Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina…
That’s one way to look at this first round of book tour.
The gratitude I felt meeting up with teachers who influenced and inspired me.
But missing Luigi Monga.
The teacher who introduced me to Italy — to
la dolce vita—
and made me fall in love
with a people, a culture, the food, a world.
He didn’t make it to see this moment.
I wish he had.
How Hamilton will always be the soundtrack to this tour. We listened to it over and over again while driving our 4,000 mile route. And whenever I got tired, I blared “Not Throwing Away My Shot” on the way to another event and walked in ready to put on a show.
And along the way, we were treated like royalty, from Presidential Suites and listings in Entertainment Weekly and NYT, to radio interviews and zamboni rides.
Then there was the joy of speaking to elementary, middle school, high school, college students — more than I can count. I love you and hope I inspired a few of you to reach higher than you thought possible. YOU most certainly inspired ME.
“The greater danger for most of us is not in aiming too high and missing our mark, but in aiming too low and hitting it.” – Michelangelo
And then there are:
The fans who quoted me to me.
The fans who high-fived me.
The fans who cried while I signed their books.
I’ve signed so many books (and walls and porches)
Hot Springs, Arkansas!
San Diego, California!
Los Angeles, California!
All my homes
(my hometown, my husband’s hometown, my college town, my home)
You turned OUT for me.
I mean, people made cookies and cakes for me.
Some weren’t here to share the moment:
Aunt Mary Lee
My friend Will (I got to re-watch his story along the road;
but he never got to read mine)
My grandmother would have loved this.
And Papa would have been sitting in the front row.
But there were so many friends and family who were here to share it with me (these are just a few. I am grateful for every single person who came out):
To Lilly, Barbara, Allison, Brianna:
I wouldn’t be here without you.
This success is yours, too.
My parents. Both here to see this… I cannot express my gratitude for all you have done in a blog. I would rather express it over a glass of wine overlooking Lake Hamilton.
And husband. You put up with so much. And did it with brilliance, graciousness, and love.
(Okay, okay, this pic is from Iceland, a couple of months BEFORE book tour, but when I think of us on book tour, this is still how I remember it).
People ask, how does it feel?
I don’t know.
It’s overwhelming. And beautiful. More than I expected.
It’s also exhausting.
During more than one book talk, I almost collapsed.
Then I looked out into the audience, realized they hadn’t heard this speech before and… did it.
Now, I get to take a nap.
I’m honored. Touched. Joyful. Grateful to share this moment with so many people. Grateful to be at this moment at all.
I mean, come on, people. This is all pretty cool.
And now it’s finished.
But it’s not.
This will continue. This summer, fall, winter. There are more cities to visit, more books to sign, more students to inspire.
This is only the beginning.
Alright. Fine. You convinced me. I’ll write another.