Yesterday, I did a signing event for a local charity. (Won’t say who, wouldn’t be prudent.) Let me preface this story by saying that lately I haven’t had the best of luck with appearances. To put it bluntly: I tend to be cursed. And it always starts with getting lost.

I had emailed this nice woman who had invited me to the appearance asking for directions, because frankly, I know my history. She sent me link to Mapquest. Let me say: I HATE MAPQUEST. I can see that it would be very fine if you only were travelling in a straight line. However, I was having to negotiate this very tricky part of our fine capital, and I got totally lost. Which resulted in me driving about forty-five minutes longer than I needed to and arriving twenty minutes late, disheveled and mad. Not a good start. Plus, I was wearing this new sweater I’d gotten from Old Navy which was systematically shedding all over my pants. I looked like I’d been rolling around with a Yeti. No joke.

This event had a silent auction, a very good spread of drinks and food, and a few authors lined up signing their wares. Again: I have a bit of a curse at this. I’m just not very good at the hard sell. And sitting there at a table, while people pass by and smile politely, picking up my books, makes me feel like I’m at the flea market or something. You know, how you always feel bad if you look over someone’s table and there’s NOTHING you have any interest in, but you feel like you should at least make eye contact and smile? That was me yesterday. A more ambitious author might lean forward and say, “Do you have a teenager on your Christmas list? These books would be just perfect for her!” or something equally perky and self-serving. But I wasn’t even good at selling when I got paid for it at Stride Rite Bootery back in high school. I’m no better at it now. So instead I just filled up on tiny eggrolls and made friends with this nice woman next to me.

There were high points. One was that Miss North Carolina herself was there, and since I am fascinated with beauty pageants this was very exciting. She had her crown on and everything. And then, about halfway through the event, they announced that she was going to perform, and it was….clog dancing. Right there in front of me. (Well, the tables with the tiny eggrolls and sandwiches were between us, but still.) I’ve never seen a beauty queen do a clog dance, so that alone was worth getting lost and all the subsequent frustration.

But definitely the best part of the entire thing was that I got to meet Kaye Gibbons , and this time I for once didn’t make quite as much of a total ass of myself a I have the last two times I’ve been introduced. (I always sputter, and nobody likes that.)

So. All in all, not a totally bad day. Only next time, I’ll bring a navigator. And a lint brush. This is the glamourous life of a working writer, folks. Impressed, aren’t you?