Last Thursday marked the first time I talked about the book to a group of people I didn't know. The previous OES events have basically been love-fests of old friends, new friends, family, and buds of family. When I walked into the Harvard Book Store and recognized no one, I immediately started sweating. I meekly approached the information desk and said, "Hi, I'm Jess Martin... I'm, um, speaking here tonight..."
The night's MC Heather introduced herself and her friendliness put me at ease until she started talking about the works of the other writers who would be speaking that night. One man's story recounted the years spent being schooled under Mussolini's fascist regime after he was taken from his family.
Growing bright red, I quietly begged, "Please don't say I'm following him."
Heather shook her head. "He'll go last."
(Cue audible exhale.)
Could you imagine me following an 80-year-old Italian man and his incredible life story with a talk about why my parents are weird?
Anyway, while I was waiting for Meredith to park the car, I walked around the store airing out my sweaty shirt and ran into a familiar face! Marietta is in town visiting Amalia and was SO incredibly kind to come to the book store! It was such a nice surprise! Thanks again, Marietta!
And then, moments before we started, I saw a smiling bearded face looking at me and I was like, hmm, looks like Jimmy. And it was! Jimmy is the little brother of my best friend growing up and I have not seen him in YEARS. He and his girl Beth drove into town for the event and they're my new favorite couple. Funny, intelligent, well-spoken, adorable. And they both do improv. Hello?! Love. It was totally amazing of them to come! Thanks again you guys!
With that said, I was still a nervous wreck. But I like that I'll be able to remember how nervous/sweaty/shaky I was. It just shows that it was important to me. It was a fun experience and I'm totally grateful to the book store for the opportunity.
Here's the talk: Warning: It's Awkward.