How to Avoid the Unavoidable Whilst Weilding A Pen

Here is something I have learned during my debut experience that I wish to share with all of you who may one day dream of writing a book, publishing a book, and be asked to sign copies of said book in permanent ink:

Tapioca brain.

This is one of my reoccurring nightmares where that, in the course of an event, I completely blank on who I'm talking to, what I'm doing, or (worst of all) what I'm writing in someone else's property. Unfortunately, I have experienced all of these and that's THE WORST FEELING EVER! Most of my signings thus far have been populated by people I know--either good friends, acquaintances, parents of kid's friends, old work colleagues, ladies from around the neighborhood or folks I know online--and despite the fact that some of these are people I've spoken to weekly or daily, sometimes for years, it happens that I look up at their expectant face when they hand me a book and for the life of me, I can't remember their name.

Now, this could be old age setting in as well as the gray, but I honestly *know* that Joyce isn't Janice and Joseph isn't Jonathan and Sara spells her name without an "h", but in that split second at a table scribbling in my nth book, it's just gone and I'm sitting there looking stupid and trying desperately to jump start the synapses back into proper alignment. (That look on my face? Yeah, that's not concentration or bad digestion, it's slipping gears.)

So I thought to offer some suggestions to avoid this squidgey moment:

1) Have someone hand out Post-It notes and instruct people to write the name of who the book is going to and stick it on the front. Let them say it's for time efficiency and not that you have a loose screw and everyone will feel better for it!
2) Write short, sweet messages and sign. I have been tempted (and succumbed) to writing long messages to the receiver only to find that I've forgotten my thread of thought halfway through and now am staring at a half-sensible sentence in ink. Ick! This is one of those times when less is more.
3) Ask how to spell everything. EVERYTHING. Even the name "Joe" because you never know if it's spelled with a silent "q".
4) If none of these things are happening and your brain takes a Time Out, be forgiving of yourself and others. We're all human and fallible. (Some of us more so than others, I suppose!)

Those are my tidbits for having a smooth signing. Except always check to make sure your pen doesn't leak. And be sure to have good food. People forgive a lot with good food. ;-)

P.S. Because people asked & other people could provide, (not me, of course, because I was WAAAAAAAY too scatterbrained to work a camera at the time!), here are some sweet Luminous photos from my ice cream event!!!

Oh so sweet! Not only did the creamery make a Luminous Sundae, but I got mentioned! ~swoon!~

This is what an actual Luminous Sundae looks like. (Pre-spoon attack!) YUM!

I'm certain I'm trying to say something intelligent, but am clearly babbling incoherently. I suspect the little girl's on to me.


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