Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Cocktail Party

The HR lady at my publishing house sent an invite for all employees to attend a kick-off party to the Boston Book Festival. So by virtue of that, I assumed it was going to be grungy "denim day" after work, to do. Not one to resist the urge to get free appetizers, I hurried over. I got there early, and sat in front with my jeans and rain boots watching the herd of cocktail dresses and suits storm in. Obviously, I didn't get the memo that this was a formal event.

A departure from the grad-student grime I associate with at bars on a typical night out, this cocktail party had a promising space with a solid guest list of authors and journalist. And pretty glamster chicks in the arms of their elderly counterparts. Back and forth, back and forth, like a puppy watching a ball, I watched the crowd fill the room. The words, What do I have to lose, popped in my head. It was time to start mingling.

A couple looking as lost as I must have looked, struck up the first conversation,"Are you an author?" I sheepishly replied no, and asked if they were. Rob Scotton and his wife Liz politely chatted with me (they were British you know) excited about the success of their newest children's book and New York Times Bestseller, "Love, Splat.." Boston Book Festival was the first event in their two week U.S. book tour.

I went up to grab a glass of pinot grigio that I overheard tremendous buzz around and spotted the editor from the Boston Phoenix. This was my chance to carry on a conversation with the man behind the great alternative weekly. Carly and I talked about tomorrow's event and nibbled on mini-versions of gourmet foods. (Did you know they can stuff mini tomatoes? Well, they can!). After feeling more comfortable in his presence, I spilled out my hardship with covering Lollapalooza for his publication. He was kind and sympathizing and lended his own personal insight about the business.

The Editor (as was the title printed on his business card) told me that there was an author's dinner and counseled me to try and get in. What do you mean try? I am not an author? He had triggered the already alerted-journalist instinct in me. He was the editor and I was not going to say no especially not to him. So, I did what I could and asked around, it was a lot easier than I had anticipated; one of the other editors from the Phoenix had an extra ticket. And since his wife decided to stay home to help their son study for the SAT's, I was in.

I crammed into a cab along with author, Kathryn Scholtz, who wrote a book about the bright side of "Being Wrong", the curator of the festival, senior editor of the Phoenix, and a Boston Globe journalist. It was time to dine at one of Boston's most elegant hotels with the most prolific authors and writers from around the world. How the hell did this happen?

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