I felt like crap the morning of my presentation. Nervs? Who knows. Maybe the time change. Memphis is an hour behind Greensboro and I wasn’t taking to the spicy food well. So we got dressed and headed to the festival early. I had hoped to feel better before my talk at 2:00. We ducked into the Marriott and the Magnolia Grille for lunch, and who do you think sat at the table next to me? Rolled in sitting in a wheelchair, I thought perhaps she’d broke her foot or something, but managing to get seated just fine, she giggled like a school girl. Lee Smith!
I thought about going over, just to say "hey." (I’m sure she didn’t recognize me.) But I felt … well, like she needed her space. And I wasn’t quite up to schmoozing … so I let the woman and her friend eat in peace. Two other gentlemen joined them later, but Michael and I relaxed and enjoyed our own lunch before heading to the festival.
(I relished the fact that I was sitting just feet from one of my all time favorite authors, a legend in these parts. Lee Smith. Sigh. She may never recognize me, but I'll always enjoy seeing her--even from a distance.) My point is, you just never know, aspiring authors, who you’re going to see at conference/trade show/book festival. Take Note!
A 2:00 p.m. presentation, a panel with Melinda Rainey Thompson, author of SWAG. We were given the topic, The Truth and the Fiction about Southern Women for the hour. Melinda and I both felt we’d have no problem coming up with enough material to wow our audience. Melinda went first, spoke graciously about how she developed the book, its content, and about the Southern woman from her point of view. Then she read from her non-fiction book, SWAG - Southern Women Aging Gracefully. It speaks to the hearts of so many women at various ages and times in their lives but especially the Southern woman. The chapters and her lists of everything Southern, stand alone, and are humorous yet thought provoking. I loved it. I bought a copy and took it back to the hotel to devour it. A great read. It should be on every woman's book shelf.
Thing is, Melinda and I worked very well together. We had the Southern woman, truth vs. fiction (a fine line, don't you know it) all sewed up! An audience of over 50 people, laughed and cried with us … an experience I’ll not forget anytime soon, I assure you.
I spoke next, read from Southern Fried Women, and the reaction and response thrilled me to the bone. When mentioning my novel, Televenge, the ooo’s and ahhh’s were the same as always. The response to my constant pitch of my novel is now universal. I swear. The same everywhere I talk about it. It's on its way, folks. I'm finding time to work on it ... no matter how busy I am.
But then, the real excitement had just begun. After speaking we were to head to the tables in front of the building. The weather was perfect. Sunny, blue, warm skies and no wind. The crowds mixed and mingled in and out of the buildings. As I walked through the grand lobby where the books of all the authors were being sold, someone grabbed my arm! "Ms. Cable, you’ve sold out of all your books, do you happen to have any more with you?"
Michael had watched woman after woman pick up my book that morning and buy it. After finding we were down to 0 books, he ran to the car and then back into the building with books under his arm to supply the table. Twice!
I signed books and festival posters, and later went to dinner happy as a pig in … well … let’s just say barbeque!
Speaking of bbq … another evening walk to Peabody’s (the hotel with the ducks) okay … look it up … and then dinner at a restaurant you’d never know existed except someone said to go. Rendezvous. Exclusive, sultry, smokey, secluded, and very, very Memphis. You have to find the alley it’s in first. No sign, no storefront. No presence … not until you walk down a flight of stairs and enter a world from another time. Waiters, all older African-American males … white shirts, black bow-ties, aprons, and big smiles … dry-rub barbeque ribs, beans, slaw, roles and a pitcher of ice-cold beer! It wasn’t long and we realized we got there just in time. The wait for a table soon became an hour long. The rich folk who stay at Peabody's had found the alley.
But the wait is worth every tasty morsel. More spicey food for my tummy, but I figured it might be a while before getting back to Memphis, so I dug in with all ten fingers. Later that evening I decided to only eat light the next few days … I’d had enough pig for one week.
Hey, Y’all … go to Memphis! It’s an experience nobody should miss! At least once in your life … travel to the land of Elvis, the Mississippi River, cooked pig, and home of the Blues. It’ll do your ole’ heart some good.
Tomorrow, Graceland … in all its glory.
Blessings to you and yours.