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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Post-Opening Euphoria

I’ve experienced it in the theatre on many occasions. You slave over the scenery, lighting, sound, action, and publicity. Three hours before opening curtain, when you are getting into makeup and costume, warming up your voice, running a hair dryer on places where the paint is still wet, you hear that the house is “small.” But it is opening night and the rip in your tights, the door that won’t open, the sudden allergic reaction to spirit gum, can’t bring you down from the excitement you feel. “Overture. Curtain. Lights. This is it: the night of nights.”

The curtain opens. The house is much bigger than you were led to believe. Your mother (or her ghost) is sitting in the front row. The energy you get back from the audience laughing, applauding, even weeping, propels you to the top of your game and before you realize it started, the final curtain comes down and you take a bow.

That was last night and the launch of Steven George & The Dragon at Jitters. The house was literally packed. As many as 65 people were buying books, sipping coffee, standing in line for my autograph, and listening enthusiastically as I read passages from the new book.

Then everyone was gone. We packed the car. Lissi vacuumed the floors and Maggie cleaned up the espresso machine. The DW and I left and realized we hadn’t eaten yet, so stopped at Red Robin for a late burger & fries. Then it was home. We’re still here, looking at the remaining unsold books, trying to reconcile the reports of credit cards and cashbox with the inventory. And asking the big question that hits after every opening; Now what?

Does selling more than our goal last night make me a famous author? Will royalties, movie contracts, and bids for my next book come rolling in? Will I finally get a decent night’s sleep tonight? Any of these would be fine.

In theatre, you face a closing curtain. You start rehearsing the next show. With publishing, you start looking for another audience. A book has to have a run of more than one night, and you need an audience that doesn’t share your last name (literally or figuratively). You need Amazon sales and Barnes & Noble. You need to see the hits on your website and plan the next reading. As the famous title says, you need to “get your act together and take it on the road.”

But for today—just today, mind you—it is okay to enjoy the euphoria and glow of that opening night.