I LOVE this building. It's black and copper exterior is what I thought about when describing The Beekman Place Hotel. I'll admit I'm disappointed with its crazy bar and horrible, horrible music, but at the same time, I'm happy the old Tower has found a new life.
IML has sucked so far, but not because of the event itself. My "social anxiety" has been out of control, and I feel helpless with the chest pain, racing heart, and frustrating inability to talk to people. Social anxiety reminds me of George Jetson - that scene where he's trying to merge onto a freeway full of traffic. Crash, crash, crash before he gets in. That's how I feel. I keep trying and trying to break into a social situation, and every time I fail, it leaves others feeling awkward. But I keep trying. And eventually I succeed.
The Next Day
(I'm writing this on the train.)
So I passed out all my promotional copies of Goodbye to Beekman Place at the IML market today. I went from vendor to vendor - sweating like I was having a stroke, and struggling to breathe through anxiety-driven chest pain - and somehow managed to introduce myself to about 40 different people. After attempting to make small talk, I gave them free soft covers and e-books. Most guys were flabbergasted, amazed that someone had taken the time to write a quality novel about "their" scene. Several congratulated me, but I was so damn nervous, I barely remember what they said. And once it was over, I couldn't get out of the host hotel fast enough.
I genuinely love Chicago...obviously, I wrote a book about it. But for as much as I love its history and architecture, I cannot stand the oceans of people. I need my space. I crave solitude. Almost every medical source has the phrase "a need for social isolation" in describing schizotypal personality disorder. Chicago on Memorial Day weekend is a SPD sufferer's worst nightmare: like Radio World, there are so many voices, it all becomes human static. But it couldn't be avoided this year. I had to promote my book.
I do want to give a special shout-out to authors Laura Antoniou and Vincent L Andrews. Both had book-signings at the Marriott, and each took time to meet and greet their readers - and talk to me. Andrews had the better food spread (including a cash bar) but Antoniou was hysterical - clearly a skilled public speaker. Both read passages from their books. Andrews' was so sexual, I noticed that the man sitting next to me was rubbing his crotch. Antoniou on the other hand had to pause for laughter after each paragraph. I'm not saying that one writer was better than the other, but the two clearly catered to different audiences.
Btw, if you're begging for change on Michigan Ave, nobody's going to give you a dime if you're texting on a smartphone.