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Thisbe Nissen: Tour Diary

Preliminaries - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 -
Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 -Day 12 - Day 13 - Day 14 - Day 15 -
Day 16 - Day 17 - Day 18 - Day 19 - Day 20 - Day 21 - Day 22 -
Day 23 - Day 24 - Day 25 - Day 26 - Day 27 - Day 28 - Day 29 - Home Diary - July 25 - July 26

Day 5: Tuesday June 5, New York, NY

Interview with a great woman from The Jewish Forward. They keep sending people to interview me who I'd absolutely want as my friends. I begin to have renewed faith in the concept of things like dating services, or personals. If writing a book can attract people to you with whom you get along so well, it seems other forms of that arrangement should work well too. I am very interested to hear about the book she's working on, which will hopefully be published by U Penn Press - a history of soul music in Philadelphia (shoot, I hope that's right, I'm going to feel really dumb if I just got that wrong). It sounds like something Chris might like.

Then lunch with agent Eric Simonoff who takes us out for sushi and treats us good. I still feel woozy, but eel and avocado rolls seems somehow to help that. I do not question the curative powers of wasabi. It is only good.

Erin and I part when she goes off to meet a boy and I go to sign books at Knopf. Jenny is dying for a second printing of the book so that the front subway circles can be more fully embossed. She feels they should have more punch. No one disagrees. I sign lots of books for lots of nice people. I meet the people in charge of this web diary and promise to rush right home to update my diary which I do straight away.

* * *

Day 5 continued

I arrive at The Corner Bookstore with Erin and my uncle Bill and the Thisbe-Nissen-This-Is-Your-Life show begins. Childhood playground playmates, high school friends, old colleagues of mom's, former babysitters, prom dates, former Iowa Young Writers' Studio students, current Hunter students (who didn't come up and say hello -- why? I heard they did theater... where were you guys? I'd have loved to have met you!), Iowa friends, relocated Iowa friends, publishing people, BEA people, all the folks from Janklow and Nesbit (my agent's agency), everyone from Knopf.... It's insane! There are so many people they have to close the doors and stop letting people in! It's a fire hazard! We've created a fire hazard! My head is spinning, I'm surprised I get anything out of my mouth at all. Jenny gives the sweetest introduction -- and it turns out they're going into a second printing after all with the book, and I think that's a very good thing from what it sounds like, so I am happy. So I finally get to reading and I do the first chapter, which I think sounds awful and I feel like I'm choking over half the words and I can barely see straight. I wish I had a pencil to start editing, because there really are too many "ly" sounds in that first paragraph, but there's nothing I can do but keep reading so I do, and then once that's over I just start signing, and I sign and sign and sign and sign until the line is gone and they're turning out the lights. And sweetest Leila, who I haven't seen in far far far too long waits for me and we walk up to mom and dad's together, me clomping in my silly shoes which are all Laurel's fault since they were so great on her I had to have the same ones.... The apartment is not so much of a zoo as the store, though Mom is already apoplectic that she's running out of food. People are greeted at the door not by hello but by, "All the food is gone!" But there is cake and wine aplenty and more people arrive, with little seven-week-old Ruby Pine the life of the party. It is buzz and whirl and there's Jenny and Michelle, and spin and chatter -- look it's Arthur! Hi Arthur! --- and Johnny chatting with Moira and Heather unable to grasp that yes, Moira still goes to Hunter, in the present tense... and I keep returning to grab onto Leila who I'm scared to let go and not see again for another five years... and everyone's drinking wine except me, still teetotaling, and everyone's happy and gregarious and I've known some of these people my entire life! And I'm running on empty and people keep spiraling in and out and gradually the floor is clearing, and Allison is spinning off in her daisy dress and I'm over by the windows talking about dogs with Jenny and Arthur, and Mom and Leila are shrieking that they can't believe I'm back in touch with Taro and we're all reliving the production of "Celebration" I was in seventh grade, and then Jenny and Arthur bow their ways away in fear that the musical theater songs will begin in earnest and it's just me and Leila curled up on the couch trying to fill in the missing years and there's Mom cleaning the living room around us, Erin long since gone to bed amidst all the noise, and Mom's collecting wine glasses for a while before she just sits down with me and Leila and joins the gossip reminiscence, and then I'm yawning, and we know I have to get up to meet with The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook folks at Harper Collins at nine, and it's so hard to let Leila leave, but she goes then and I putter my way to bed at one a.m., so exhausted and exhilarated I don't even care where the bed is until I hit it and I'm gone.