How not to write a launch speech…

2 Feb

It’s not easy, penning my thoughts for tomorrow night. I don’t really like being the centre of attention (OH SHUT UP, I DON’T!!!!) and reading aloud to a room full of people is something I’ve hated ever since a primary school teacher made me stand up and recite the alphabet on my first day, and I could only pronounce the letters phonetically. Everyone looked at me like I was weird, which I may well have been, but as I’ve said before, Elmo and Big Bird seemed to think that was the best way to teach me, and who argues with them??

I still don’t know how many people are coming to the launch tomorrow night, but the sudden realisation just struck me that while I have always been a pro at organising events, I usually only organise them for people I know. And when it’s people you know, you don’t really mind if you come across as a bit inarticulate (read: PISSED). When it’s people you don’t know, however, it’s probably not a good idea to grab a mic and slur ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart” like you’re in a karaoke bar, or expect the audience to think you’re funny when you try and burp the names of your most honoured guests. Of course, I wouldn’t even think of doing either of these things. Well, that’s a lie, of course I’ve thought about it, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this whole paragraph, but I probably SHOULDN’T, and that’s my point. Dammit.

It’s been a bit of a mad couple of days… yesterday I signed some books for the store Angus and Robertson and watched them stick these little shiny ‘signed by author’ stickers on them, which was so weird. And then when I walked past again they had put them in the window! I wanted to take a piccy to document the occasion but nerves got in the way and I thought the lady in the shop might think I was a moron. When I went to snoop in Dymocks, they had put three copies on the bottom shelf of the travel memoir section, which we all know no one ever looks at. I stood there for a while, fighting disappointment. It’s kind of tough you know… knowing how much work you’ve put into something, all the hours, all the heartache, all the hangovers… and then when the end result appears, it’s shoved below a MILLION other books with no hope of ever competing. It’s not something you can really moan about though. Because as soon as you moan, everyone just says you’re lucky it’s there at all, which is true. Very true. I shall not moan… but I won’t lie either. I want a Burqalicious SHOP. I want t-shirts and airplanes printed with golden, sparkling wings to match. I want a Burqalicious charity for abandoned black items of clothing. I want special edition Burqalicious Marmite and Burqalicious Arabic tea bags by Tetley. I want a Burqalicious theme park, like Harry Potter got. These are all things I also won’t be saying in my speech, by the way. So sssssssh…

Today I got my first review, which was also pretty cool, and my good friend at the Telegraph wrote a lovely piece and posted it on the website along with that burqa photo. It’s all a bit bizarre, seeing things like cool promo style shots, considering I started out taking stupid photos like the one above, which I just dug out again for amusement value. (It’s actually a painting, but doesn’t he look real?!)

I suppose my speech tomorrow will just end up being one of gratitude really, more than anything else. Because in all seriousness, that’s the overpowering emotion I’m experiencing right now, regarding all of this. Gratitude for all the people who’ve supported me so far, to my friends and family who’ve bought the book already, to the amazing people in the diary entries themselves, who I loved and sometimes lost; who inspired me and when it mattered most, loved me back. And gratitude of course, for the magnificent team of people who pulled together and turned my random scribbles into the book that’s now on the bottom shelf of Dymocks.

Thanks! And see you tomorrow at the launch! xox

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