showing up


My friends have done incredible things to help promote my book.  They've tweeted and Facebooked and e-mailed about it.  They've let me guest post on their blogs.  I mean, seriously, incredible. But in the midst of all the buzz that my friends have helped generate, one of the most meaningful gestures came from my 85-year-old neighbor, who showed up unexpectedly at a book reading & signing I did in downtown Portland.

I've gotten used to people in my generation not showing up for things.  We're the casual generation, right?  The one that ignores RSVP dates, the one that agrees to show up to something and then cancels at the last minute, the one that craves spontaneity.  The generation that can't even commit to a flash mob until the event is 60 seconds (or less) away from happening.  And I'm no exception.  I'm guilty of any and all of the above.

Before my book, The Invisible Girllaunched, if you had sat me down and asked me what would be the most meaningful gesture to me in the time around the book  launch, I know what I would've said.  A blog tour.  Lots of great tweets.  5-star reviews on

But do you know what?  By far, the most meaningful gestures came from my friends who showed up.  The ones, like my 85-year-old neighbor, who told me they'd be at my book launch and actually came.  The ones who told me they'd be at my Powell's Books signing and showed up.  The ones who RSVP'd as "Yes" and actually made an appearance at the event.

And their faithfulness has actually informed my own.  In the past week, I've RSVP'd for a wedding reception.  I've committed to events I hadn't signed up for.  I've shown up for Bar Mitzvah's and bridal showers and dinners I was invited to.

In a world, and a generation, that is last-minute, noncommittal, and often cancels, I've learned that maybe the best thing you can do for friends is to just. show.up.