I’m having the pre-book jitters, in a big way.
The thing about writing a memoir is that when you’re writing it, alone in your office, you get obsessed with trying to strip things down to an essential emotional truth, more naked than naked. It doesn’t matter, because there you are alone in your office with nothing but a dirty coffee cup staring back at you. Who cares if you’re naked.
Then it hits you that the damn thing is going to published. That people are going to read it. Your mom is going to read it. The guys you dated and gave fake names to and then described in the book may read it. Friends you went to high school and college with are going to read it. People you don’t know are going to read it and cast judgment on you. They will compare your book with Eat, Pray, Love, even though you wrote your first memoir before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote hers. They will call it “chicklit.”
Then you will want to call up an airline and book a ticket somewhere far, far away, which is your usual antidote to any kind of stress.
Instead, you have to stick around, send out emails announcing the book, do all the social media networking that is required these days, and pray someone buys the book. You have to write targeted Facebook ads and personal essays that tie in with the book and go on the radio and try to explain just what the heck you were trying to say.
It’s all overwhelming. The thought of being so emotionally naked in just a few days is freaking me out.
So tonnight I went to yoga with a friend, which was calming. Then, since we were nearby, we went to my favorite restaurant in San Francisco.
Here’s another time when I ought to keep things to myself, but instead I am spilling the truth about something that ought to be kept private. My favorite restaurant in San Francisco: La Ciccia.
“La Ciccia” means a full, happy, chubby belly, which is the perfect antidote to stress. We popped in to the restaurant and Massimo and Lorela made us feel right at home, speaking in Italian, greeting us like family. All my worries melted away with a glass of prosecco and the anticipation of a Sardinian meal.
We were just going to have appetizers, but one thing led to another. There were grilled sardines on the menu, for instance. And there was spaghetti with bottarga. When there’s spaghetti with bottarga on the menu, there is no way to say no. Then there was tuna with an olive sauce. And carta da musica, the flatbread with rosemary that is famous in Sardinia. Massimo brought out some housemade spaghetti with tuna conserva, just because he knew I would like it, and I did; I nearly swooned. He also brought some fresh ricotta and some little hot pepperoncini with tuna stuffed inside, along with some cherry tomatoes with little anchovies…I was transported to Sardinia. WE had vermentino, we had cannonau, we had a wonderful time.
I was with my friend Cecilia, a size 0, who managed to put away half a plate of the tuna conserva before an entire portion of the spaghetti with bottarga. After the main dish, Massimo brought over some gelato he’s working on: one with bottarga, another with goat cheese and fig, and another with malvasia and dried prunes. The bottarga gelato was interesting–how often do you get a fish aftertaste with gelato? The others were perfectly sweet and balanced.
The atmosphere at La Ciccia is so friendly and unpretentious, and the food is so good, that I was in Sardinia for a few hours this evening, where nobody speaks English, and nobody is going to read a new memoir coming out on Tuesday. On Tuesday, I’m sure my dread will be replaced with good cheer, since I’m fortunate to have so many friends and well-wishers in my life, but for today, I was happy to escape to Sardinia, right here in San Francisco.