Book launch anxiety. It's a thing.

What the hell. Alkali Sink ships next week from the printer, McNaughton & Gunn. After it arrives, I will supply our press, reviewers, and distributor with cases of books. From there, the world. I've made precisely nine pre-sales on Amazon, with many inquiries from friends regarding how they might acquire the book. I have a beautiful, generous blurb from my friend Lee Herrick, and marvy blurbs from Camille Dungy and Julia Levine. It's an exciting time, to be sure. But what I worry about most: the book party on Tuesday April 14, in my hometown, Modesto.


The notion of a large gathering of folks from disparate parts of my life makes me quake in my big black boots. Family members; friends from high school; friends from Tower Records (maybe); newer friends (palpitations, fuck!); guys I've met while dating; present and former colleagues from MJC, CSUS, and my current voc-ed school (breathe, breathe); Ladies Who Vote; Friends of the Liberry comrades, young and old people.

How in the world is such Stella-friend-diversity going to result in any cohesive poetry reading/party? I may not even be able to swear, for fuck's sake--my own child will be there too.

Things I need for the occasion: intelligent between-poem banter; a selection of work to read, including some new poems; presence of mind; a good outfit that perfectly captures WHO I AM (no pressure); a semblance of promptness; books to sell (and a change belt). Things I want: firedancers, swordswallowers, people on stilts, guys in drag, someone playing the accordion in the corner.

All that, and cake.