The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

TMP: Party Time
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This is tricky because it's not a memory that most can share. But let's see what I can do.

My first book party fell on the day of a snowstorm, which did not play to Baltimore's strengths. It was a middling snow, as such things go, but those are the ones that seem to discombobulae us the most. Still, people came to the store where I signed -- including friends from as far away as Minnesota and Texas, in a surprise visit.

The party was held at the home of two good friends, married co-workers. It was packed, with my sister, a Barnes & Noble employee, selling books in the corner. But the part I always remember is the song, written and performed by three co-workers. Called "Baltimore Blues," it featured Dion Thompson on guitar, Mark Bomster on harmonica and Arthur Hirsch on vocals. The refrain, as I remember it, went something like this. "Oh Laura Lippman, when you write your next book, please don't write about me." My family was there, my Baltimore friends, but also several of my San Antonio ones -- the out-of-towners I mentioned above, but also some other former Texas journalists who had landed in the D.C. area. My boss, who years later would disappoint me mightily, had even gotten money from the paper to buy some extra food. We spent it on shrimp.

I had reason to think about that party today, which happens to be publication day, because Baltimore and much of the Mid-Atlantic are experiencing these Biblical-scale rainstorms and it's hard to beileve that anyone will venture out tonight to attend my first reading.

But that's okay. Eleven books in, I can roll with it. I had the party that mattered when I needed it. And I had a song, written just for me. How often does that happen?

Did you ever have a perfect party? Birthday? Wedding? Wake? Celebrate good times, as the song says.

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