Book tour memories (now that I'm home and mostly unpacked), take one:

The setting: Q and A at a B&N outside of San Francisco.

I answered a few inquiries about my writing life, the book-to-film transition, how autobiographical my work is. Then a woman three rows back raised her hand.

"What I'm wondering is, are you self-actualized?"

I stared at her. "I'm not sure I know what that means," I said. Which was the God honest truth. Except I actually had some inkling that it might have been some kind of Scientology term, and if I said "no" she'd drag me into the stockroom and beat me with L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics until I told her that I thought Tom and Katie were totally in love.

"It means, do you feel you've reached your human potential?"

What I said was, "I really love what I do. Does that count?"

What I thought was, Lady, I'm from Philadelphia. We don't do self-actualization here.

(Readers at subsequent events told me that self-actualization has something to do with Maslow's hierarchy of needs . . . and that once you're self-actualized, you get to shoot for transcendence. Which is something to keep in mind for the new year, I guess).

In other news, I'm judging a short story contest for White Lie Early Season Chardonnay based on -- you know it -- your favorite white lie.

(My current favorite is telling my grandmother that Larry Flynt, who we encountered in L.A., was one of the judges for American Idol, which struck me as a lot easier than trying to explain about Hustler magazine).

Here's the deal: you think of your favorite white lie. You write a short story based on the lie. The winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to glamorous New York City to have lunch with me and, more importantly, my literary agent.

Happy writing . . . and stay tuned for more book tour/Halloween costume meltdown updates . . .

Jen