Whew.

Looks like we made it: Lucy, my sister, my mother, Jamie the nanny and I all survived a fifteen-day, eight-city whirlwind LITTLE EARTHQUAKES book tour more or less intact.

I've got a bazillion tales from the road, but I think what I'll remember most is my mother being, in turns, astonished, overwhelmed, and deeply disconcerted by the entire experience.

Molly and I want to do a Nova-style special about my mother. Instead of following an animal being released from captivity back into the wild, it would star my mother, Fran, coping with the publisher-provided luxury of a five-star hotel, after having spent the last fifty years as a contender for the title of Cheapskate Queen.

Witness the carnage of my mother, who once made all four of her kids share a single bed at a Days Inn and who would rather chew her own arm off than stop a car trip for lunch (we had to make do with a cooler full of hardboiled eggs and imperfectly thawed Lenders bagels), dealing with...the minibar!

"Dammit! Which one of you girls ate the Oreos? Did you SEE how much they cost? That's almost a dollar a cookie!"

...the car and driver!

"This is just too much. Really too much. Shouldn't we be taking the subway? Or a bus? Yes, I know we have a lot of luggage, but we can do it!"

....turndown service!

"No, we're fine, really! We can turn down our own beds! And make them in the morning, too!"

At first, the transition was difficult (insert footage of mother scowling at me as I made use of overnight hotel dry-cleaning), but gradually, Fran became acclimated to her new environment, even going so far as to order room service.

"Well, I guess it's easier than taking the baby to a a restaurant."

But she drew the line at the late-night, $7.99, in-room rental of "The Notebook."

"They get married, she gets Alzheimer's, and they both die in the end. Can we go to sleep now?"

More as soon as I plow through the 241 pieces of email I've gotten, but first, a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to one of the readings. It was a pleasure meeting you all -- yes, even the guy in Menlo Park who asked whether I was planning on including any frogs or baseball players in upcoming works.




Jen