Near the Main Street of East Hampton, and under lily white tents one hundred authors of varying repute are seated, democratically in alphabetical order, at white clothed snaking tables. Each author sits before their stack of books and a sweeping audience peruse along, stopping to chat with whomever they like, admire, care to know better, and possibly buy a signed and dedicated book or two or three.
Included were Jay McInerney, Nelson de Mille, A.M. Holmes, Clive Davis, Nile Rodgers, Kitty Kelly, yours truly, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Obviously this is about more than mere literature and includes illustrious shiny stars at the top of their game with books on decorating, parenting, party-throwing, baking and vegan clean living.
Due to the inflexibility of the alphabet I had the questionable good fortune to be seated directly beside Gwyneth Paltrow. Since she arrived on the late side I had a chance to make some sales to new and repeat customers. There were hugs and smiles and a bloated sense that all was well.
Then slowly yet unmistakably a line began to form in front of my section of table. These folks were hushed and reverential and had a particularly earnest and focussed demeanor and casting furtive eyes around, clearly single minded and clearly without any interest in yours truly. Unless you count the increasingly urgent question they posed, “Where is Gwyneth?”
I bandied a variety of responses, from, “perhaps you can see she is not here?” Which was met with sullen looks. So I upped the ante and replied by saying, “I am Gwyneth!” This earned me palpably hostile replies of, “No you are not!” Needless to say this only encouraged me and I persisted with more elaborate confections such as, “Yes I am Gwyneth, it’s just that I’ve put on a little weight and gone brunette for a role.” This met with nary a titter, instead only dark unsmiling glares.
Then the divinity in question arrived with hubby, children and a couple of massive bodyguards. The worshippers blocked my view of the whole world, abusing my tiny territory upon which to abandon their trash or lean their sorry asses.
So I abandoned my post and took that opportunity to roam the great tent and greet my fellow authors. Which is when I saw the food table, and suddenly I knew what needed doing. I made a plate of miniature sloppy hamburgers, stinky steak sandwiches, and the like and hauled it back to my piece of table.
Gwyneth’s bodyguards blocked my re-entry despite my assurance I was a just an author and pointing at my name tag, “No!” they growled, body blocking me. So I was forced to crawl under the table. And there I sat with my meat products, wafting the excellent smells toward my sleek vegan neighbor. She ignored the siren smells of protein. We never did say hello, although I did try to sell my book to her sleek vegan children. No bites.
Dinner, however, at my hosts for the weekend, great friend Anne Hearst and her husband Jay McInerney, which lasted until 6am when a pink light illumined the sky, was a memorably glorious night. I’m already looking forward to doing it all again.