Friday, May 6, 2011
Day 4 of book tour -- April 27, 2011
After a brief strategy meeting, four of us take our places at the head table. Left to right in the photo: Antonin Koci (MF editor), Irena Zikova (translator and interpreter), I (the author -- sorry, I like the sound of that!), and Alexander Turkovic (District Governor-elect of the nation's Rotary clubs).
Tony Koci gives a brief welcoming speech and, suddenly, the mike is in my hand. In English with Irena translating, I introduce all those in the audience who are "characters" in my book. Then I surprise everyone by reading -- in Czech -- an episode describing my melodramatic return to Prague after the Velvet Revolution. There is applause and, as I look out over the crowd, some -- particularly our friends -- seem as emotional as I am. Sasha Turkovic speaks briefly about the meaning of Rotary and makes a connection between my life and Rotary's motto, "service above self." A Q&A session follows. Among many other questions, I am asked, perhaps for the tenth time this week, whether I feel more American or Czech. For the tenth time, I give the same answer: "Both, equally." [The next day, after some introspection, I will modify this answer.]
Finally, the big moment arrives. We break open the champagne and, with Sue joining the celebration, we christen the book. DLOUHA CESTA DOMU has been launched! I stay for a long time to sign books and finally have to be pulled away for yet another interview, this one with Czech Radio Leonardo.
As Sue and I walk away with our good friend, Jitka Thomasova, in search of a pub, I feel overwhelmed. Is this really happening? More than six years of writing and rewriting, Now, I really have a book.