Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Time Has Come…

It’s been almost two weeks since the launch of Fashionably Late and it’s time to break the silence and start gushing. Not as easy as you would think…

When I was cramming really, really hard for my CMA (management accounting) exams, giving up every conceivable iota of free time to do something that brought me about as much pleasure as carving out my eardrums with a spoon, my CMA ‘coach’ stood in front of the class one fine day and proceeded to tell us this: when the exam would be behind us, we would miss the sense of purpose that only excruciatingly hard work in the pursuit of a singular goal can give.

The guy next to me turned and shrugged, one eyebrow cocked at a is-this-broad-freakin’-kidding-me??? angle.

Well, the exam came to pass, and I wish I could say my coach was somewhat right, that I felt some of the malaise associated with the achievement of one’s highest goals, but I was just really happy I had gotten my life back, that I’d passed, and that the nightmares had finally stopped.

Writing a book is different.

Is it because I’m older and supposedly wiser this time around? Or that instead of being pushed into this goal by the mobster twins, Fear and Loathing, I actually entered into this contract with myself freely, willingly, with nothing but hope and a little bit of stress, the positive kind, in my heart?

Maybe.

But there you have it. There is some malaise that comes with the passing of yet another signpost on the serpentine, surprising road that is Life. And over the past couple of weeks, since my last blog post, by turn I’ve felt euphoria, dread, elation, nervousness, pride, morbidity, an incredible sense of achievement, and a looming existential crisis.

Is this what I’m meant to be doing? Waiting for the Idea Muse, synthesizing her bouts of creativity into something workable, committing to the enormous project of writing a novel on nothing but faith (especially challenging to me, as I am really not a ‘faith’ kind of person), seeing it through, embarking on the shameless self-promotion ride, bracing myself for the ensuing praise and criticism (which, as I’m now understanding, are two sides of the same coin – you can’t let yourself get too high on either, or you will become a slave to them).

Since the launch of Fashionably Late, I’ve appeared in the local Cayman Islands newspapers, and am getting “spotted” about town – by the barristas at my favorite coffee shop who now know why I spent so much time in their café, the travel agent who vaguely remembers me from my various drop-ins in the office but now knows exactly who I am, people I’ve worked with in the past who used to offer a cursory ‘hello’ now looking – really looking – into my face and offering heartfelt congratulations.

Of course, with my belonging to the no-nonsense banking world, there have also been some encounters of the kind I’d always feared – from the same people who I imagine look down at homemakers and waitresses and anyone who isn’t being paid huge sums of money for sitting behind a desk as being somehow unworthy, not quite grown-up enough, and maybe a little simple minded, as though they couldn’t hack it in the real world.

I was very, very afraid of those encounters, because I used to be one of those people. Kind of like the virulent anti-gay senators, congressmen and mega-church preachers whose homophobic crusades turn out to be inspired by a deep self-loathing, a shameful penchant to what they declare to be so depraved and disgusting.

I was a creative person who wished she could just be normal.

And out of all the gifts, encounters with new, interesting people, new experiences, new feelings I’ve gained since the release of FL, this is the most precious: self-acceptance.

Okay, so that was the “morbidity” and “existential crisis” segment of our post. On to the fun part: the party!


It was unbelievably good. The kind of good I didn’t allow myself to hope for. Nearly everyone who’d RSVP’d showed up, so about 90 people, the food – which was going to be a surprise for me since I didn’t set the menu, merely pointed in the direction of noveau-Mediterranean if you will – was spectacular. Creative, original, and finger-lickin’ good. The music was so good that in the midst of the Paris-Hilton-grade glamour of signing books and having twenty different flashes going off in tandem, I was itching to get on the dance floor. And this after having given Jae, my wonderful friend-cum-event-planner-cum-DJ this very helpful suggestion: “I want a contemporary Cuban sound with a Middle-Eastern/techno baseline… Oh – and lots of hip hop, Nelly Furtato/Sexy Back kinda vibe. Do you see what I’m saying?”

And, by God, Jae did it.

We even had a foosball table in a corner which kept those gentlemen (I use the term loosely) with little inclination for salsa/baladi/house/Nelly Furtato remixes happily occupied, as they puffed on their complimentary Romeo y Julieta cigars.

The ladies’ gift bags were a hit. I’m now free to reveal what was in them: three mini-martini bottles (Cocktails by Jenn is the brand – pre-mixed sweet little concoctions which are heavy on the vodka) of assorted flavors, a mojito scented soap created especially for Fashionably Late by a local artisan, Cayman Soap Co., gorgeous earrings (in an equally gorgeous little “flower” pouch I found online) individually handcrafted - all 60 of them - by my really good friend Dara (who will not listen to me and pursue her jewelry design ambitions seriously even though she’s brilliant), and lip gloss.

The community support for this party was so amazing that a local Cuban art gallery donated a painting, and one of the big jewelers, Island Companies, donated a gorgeous Sorrelli necklace, both to be raffled off to raise money for Cayman’s libraries. The most incredible support of all was that it was my current employer, an international bank, who helped make it all come true. A sign that in the hearts of even the most straight-laced financiers lays a yearning for the artistic? Or just plain kindness?

I signed more than sixty books, had a few mojitos, and then danced the night away. It was absolutely magical.

Here I am, before the madness, with the books...



A glimpse of the venue, this time with guests...






In the thick of things...








This time with Lil'sis who played the part of raffle drawing organizer and general keep-company'er extraordinaire...


Gift bags and raffle prizes...


Los tigres of the night, not to mention the evening's principal salseros...








Me, and the hot, all-male staff I'd requested for the evening (it's my party, and I don't have to stare at a buxom barmaid's scantily-clad cleavage if I don't want to, dammit!)


The debauchery begins...


...and ensues...










and the lovely ladies who helped me make this dream come true

9 comments:

Kelli Estes said...

Nadine, the party sounds like it was one to remember. Congratulations on your launch!

Way up here in Washington state, I bought your book last weekend and can't wait to read it. I'm just waiting to finish the one I'm in the middle of then I'm jumping with both feet into yours!

Congratulations again!

Heather said...

Wow! Now that is a book launch party!

Fashionably Late is on the tippy-top of my TBR pile. Congratulations on your success!

Janelle Martin said...

Hi Nadine, thanks for your comments on my blog and yes, I would love to get a copy of Fashionably Late for review but have no way to contact you since I can't find an email address on your blog. So please email me through the email posted here in my profile (bookbutler at gmail dot com) and I'll get my address to you.

Thanks for posting again!
Janelle

Nadine Dajani said...

Hi Kelli - thanks for the support!!! Yes, it really was a night to remember. My only complaint is that it whitted by waaaaay too fast! That, and I didn't eat anywhere near enough of that yummy food.

Nadine Dajani said...

Heather - thanks so much for dropping by the blog, and thanks so much for picking up FL! I really hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear your feedback. I'm going to try and be a better blogger starting tomorrow... (of course, I'm also going to tone up starting tomorrow, and run every day, and eat salads for dinner... you get the picture!)

Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Your party looks SO FUN! I can't believe I couldn't attend...so cool. I love the cusine idea. And the pics. Great pics. That is such an amazing dress.

Hey, you're supposed to do a blog tour on my blog this week!

I know...most random comment ever.

Heather said...

Nadine, I'm sure someone has already told you about this, but Megan Crane has posted some photos of her own new release on the front table of a Borders in Emeryville, CA, at www.megancrane.livejournal.com/.

And guess whose book is right next to hers! (You might have to scroll a little to see them.)

What great placement! And a lovely cover, too.

Heather said...

Whoops! Make that

http://megancrane.livejournal.com/

No "www" at all.

Sorry — I've been a lurker for so long I don't even know how to leave a proper comment!

Nadine Dajani said...

OMG Heather! Thank you!!! California??? I'm getting a little faint...