Still recovering from the book party. Had two glasses of Bitch before switching to Diet Coke; that in itself was enough to do me in. Signed many, many books. Was visited by two of my former fiction teachers, Deborah Emin and Alice Dark. It was especially sweet of Deborah to drive all the way from Queens. My parents flew in from Florida, Jay and Anne made the trip from Baltimore, and cousin David from south Jersey.

The sushi, Thai food and free chair massages were real crowd pleasers. And of course Nicky Mesiah came with her signature toffee, which brought a cat-that-ate-the-canary smile to the face of Frank GG. And there were paparazzi all around. Not real flanking-your-limo paparazzi. But lots of people snapping away, some of them with pretty impressive lenses, including Michael Reitman, who was covering the book party for the Montclair Times. Well, I’ll know who I forgot to invite when the paper comes out on Thursday.

A lot of the preparations, in retrospect, seemed unnecessary. Aside from my mother, I’m not sure anybody appreciated the black tablecloths ($5.99 twin sheets, Ikea), bought to match my book cover. And why oh why did I set up another helium-balloon-and-ribbon factory an hour before the party? For someone who has startled at the sound of balloons popping since toddlerhood, I sure am a sucker for the things. Luckily, with all his July 4th parade experience, Noah is pretty darn proficient at the balloon-inflation process. And who noticed the lucky bamboo ($1.99 a stem, also from Ikea)? Or the expensive organic treaties from Whole Foods?

Maybe nobody. But Nina would have appreciated the bamboo and the virtuous treats. And it wouldn’t have felt like a party if I hadn’t tried to color coordinate the napkins and the paper plates.

Everybody has a different idea of what exactly makes a party. For Pam it has to be real glassware and a real signature mixed drink. But Pam wasn’t there. And the Bitch did make a statement, even in plastic cups.

The main thing was I threw myself a party to congratulate myself on the achievement of publishing a second book. It’s different than, say, a 50th birthday party, which merely celebrates the achievement of circling the sun 50 times. Writing a book represents hundreds if not thousands of hours sequestered from real life. Even if some people consider your work piffle, it’s still an enormous act of will. And it is — never forget — the culmination of a childhood dream.

So happy book party, Debbie. (That’s me on the right.) You deserved it.

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