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Speech! Don't make me do it.

Updated: May 13, 2023

The day draws near. The launch party for South of Happily. Friends and family keep telling me I’ll need to make a speech.

But I don’t want to, and trust me, you don’t want me to either. While speaking in public, my lisp becomes more prominent, I fill empty spaces with “um”, lose my train of thought, and say outrages things.

Last year I was a guest on a podcast with a guy who works in the space industry. He asked my opinion about going back to the moon. I said, quote: “The moon is so great! There’s no atmosphere there, right? You probably know more about it than I do.”

Then it got quiet. This man literally sends rockets into outer space.

He’s not requested a second interview.

The reality is that I love talking with you, with everyone. You are all fascinating, profound. You motivate me to write about us…humans.

And my name is (Merriam-Webster) Gabby: Adjective, meaning talkative, garrulous.

Garrulous: Given to prosy, rambling, or tedious loquacity, pointlessly or annoyingly talkative.

It’s a lot to live up to.

In my brain, the speech is this book, beginning to end, all those words—my way of thanking everyone for their support. For listening to me go on for years (decades) about this damn story. My gratitude to you is immeasurable. If you read South of Happily, I’ll be so very excited to talk with you or your book club about it. About why Katy Kiss is so weird, or what’s true in this novel, and what’s been spun into fiction.

And if there is no other option, I can pull myself together, write a slew of note

cards and barrel through my recitation. You’re all worth the risk. But be ready for me to say something stupid; maybe about me, or about politics or religion or your football team. Then that quiet moment will happen again. We’ll all be uncomfortable.

And I’ll have checked the box for tedious loquacity.

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