APW Book Tour: Atlanta

The Amazing Wonderful Fabulous & Kind Team—Organizers: Wedding Day Hooray & Leah and Mark * Photographers: Amanda Summerlin, LeahAndMark.com & The Intern Army * Event Venue: Young Blood Gallery * Extra thanks: Wedding Day Hooray & +Raven for contributing to the raffle, and Leah and Mark for making this event possible! *

Meg Keene thoughts WIC Wedding



Amanda Summerlin




First of all, clearly, you just have to take a scan of the pictures to know that the Atlanta APW Book Talk was very, very good. Second of all, I wore my hipster ice skating dress again because I realized it was my last chance on the road. I made my hair huge, to compensate. Obviously, you forgive me, and wonder why I’m not wearing it every day all day (good question). Third, the event was even better than it looks in the pictures. I’m pretty sad that all of you were not there for it, though I suppose if you were, we wouldn’t have fit in the gallery, so hum.

When we left the Atlanta event, which was Maddie’s third and last event on the road, there was a pause, and then she said, “That was a very good one. Very.” And she was right. From the minute we walked into the event space (the Young Blood Gallery) the feeling in the air was awesome. Unlike past events, there was a very laid back, pre-show vibe. Everyone was walking around with their shoes off, setting up (thanks Wedding Day Hooray, the coolest Atlanta wedding event), chatting, nursing tiny babies (Leah). And, I mean, it was in an art gallery (I was sneakily pricing paintings, trying to figure out how much trouble I’d be in if I picked up some art on the road).

And then, after delays for Atlanta traffic, the event kicked into gear. I started by giving my normal quick but rambling talk, and then we got to the meat of the situation. I pulled up Leah of Leah and Mark for a chat about female entrepreneurship. And, in easiest, most natural, and most fitting way in the world, we ended up passing her baby back and forth during the talk (because, yup, you can literally rock it out in front of a crowd with a baby on your hip). We talked about hustle and about asking for what you’re worth. We talked about motherhood and business ownership and about how having a baby freed Leah up to stop doing crap she hated and made failing not an option. We talked about being afraid of ending up broke and in the poorhouse and letting that drive you. And then, in one of my favorite moments of the night, Rasheeda (did I get your name right, lady??) raised her hand and talked about her mom being a strong female business owner who ran a salon, who raised a take-no-bullshit daughter at the same time. By the end of the night, the myth that you can have kids or have a career, but you have to pick, had a lot less power over me (for one). (Side note: The article on the subject about Sheryl Sandberg in the Sunday New York Times actually made me cry into my cereal yesterday.)

The fascinating part of the night was that when we opened the floor up for Q&A, the topic never switched to weddings. All anyone wanted to talk about was women and money and business and children and success. It was like the dam broke, and we all were finally getting to discuss with other ladies the constant internal narrative that’s playing out in all of our minds, all of the time. At the end of the night, I was chatting with Leah while holding her passed out asleep baby, and she said, “I felt like we just should have kept going. Like we all should have just gone out to coffee and pulled up chairs because there was clearly so much more that needed to be discussed.” I’m getting chills just writing about it. It was that good a night.

So thanks Atlanta. You gave me a good dose of faith in the world. Now, Austin, I’m coming for you on Tuesday. We’re talking about feminism, weddings, and marriages. Plus, it’s going to be the smallest event of the tour, which means one-on-one time. Honestly, I bet it’s going to be worth taking off work early and driving in from Dallas or Houston. You tell me, Texas, but I bet I’m not wrong. Let’s do it.

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  • Cassandra

    I was all in love with the baby pictures in the first place, and it got even better with you two holding him while talking about serious, big life things.

    I really love hearing all these neat things that come up in the discussions. In theory, you’d imagine a book tour for a book about weddings would end up being mostly, you know, about weddings. It’s amazing that you’re getting these awesome groups of women (and men? I’ve seen a couple men in the pics) talking about a lot more.

  • KA

    Oh, this sounds soso very good.

    Love the looks of that gallery—and love that you’re signing books on an ice chest. And that it’s the same one that I was thisclose to buying from Home Goods for our wedding but then couldn’t justify spending $80 on an ice chest that wouldn’t fit in our house after the fact.

  • Rasheeda

    You did spell my name right( this rarely happens)!!

    And how right Leah was… “I felt like we just should have kept going. Like we all should have just gone out to coffee and pulled up chairs because there was clearly so much more that needed to be discussed.” So true. So NEEDED. Which only means you have to come back now.

  • Class of 1980

    A baby made of rainbows almost makes Atlanta traffic bearable. Looks like a great time.

    • The baby made of rainbows DID make Atlanta traffic bearable. Even coming from the Lawrenceville area, and getting lost, and showing up 20 minutes late. Rainbow baby = everything is right in the world.

      • Class of 1980

        Oh that Atlanta traffic. You’re either sitting still or you’re qualifying for the Indy 500. ;)

  • Claire

    I was one of the last people in line and by the time we got to Meg, all the books were sold out. Yay for Meg! Sad face for me. But then, the woman in front of me (rocking the fabulous short ‘do in the third picture from the bottom) opened her giant (possibly magic) yellow bag to reveal her personal stash of APW books. She generously offered to let the rest of us buy the books she had previously purchased as gifts for her own friends. How cool is that? So I got a book signed after all. Thanks lady!

  • Aww man, I’m finding myself seriously wishing I was in Atlanta for this discussion! Also – I want to hold the bebe!

  • Denzi

    One of the things I’ve been struck by from the pictures during this book tour is how awesome Meg is about *talking* to each person who gets their book signed. The line moved veeeeeeery slowly (nobody minded; we were rocking out new friendships and meeting and talking to Maddie, who is also AMAZING), and when we got to the front, I discovered it was because Meg spent a little time with each person, talking and making jokes and having genuine human interaction.

    As an introvert, I think “How f*cking exhausting,” and as a member of Team Practical, I think “How f*cking awesome.” I would guess that that isn’t the way every author does/can work a signing session (e.g. Neil Gaiman would be there for two days straight if he did that), but I REALLY loved getting my own two minutes of personal time with this person whom I am star-struck by just a teeny bit. Some of it is probably the awesome dress and the big hair. :-P (Seriously, driving there with my partner, I was biting my knuckles freaking out about being late and missing ONE SINGLE SECOND of awesomeness. *grin* )

    • meg

      Aws. I’ve been doing it the full trip, and confession: in some places it’s taken almost an hour and a half. At some point in the future, I’ll have to speed it up a bit, but I’m hyper aware that if people bust their ass to come see you talk, you owe it to them to bring yourself to the game.

      I will say that I’m an extrovert (I mean, it wouldn’t even be feasible as an introvert I think) and it is deeply exhausting. Speaking is not. Speaking is like water for me. But interacting one on one with say, 140 people is the most tiring thing I’ve ever done. WORTH IT though.

  • Fermi

    I really wanted to go-I live in Knoxville and was going to take off. But three weeks ago I found out I’m getting the transfer home that I have been waiting for, so I move next week! I am REALLy sad that I missed getting to meet you. Until next time…

  • HEY, TEXAS: I drove from Raleigh to Atlanta, which was seven hours, and it was TOTALLY worth it. Houston to Austin is like half that. So, you know. Do it. Doooooooo it.

    • Class of 1980


    • That’s dedication.

      • Hmm, that makes three of us. Even when I change aneswrs to certain questions, I am still Tiptree. You’re right about the opposite sex answer being key, though change that, and I suddenly morph into Paul Linebarger.Guess I better read some of her stuff. Any recommendations?

  • The vibe of this one looks amazing from the pictures. And the third picture down KILLED me.

    • Also, I really do hope you find a way to keep the thread of entrepreneurship posts going – I know the working for yourself ones are over now, but I think it is an ongoing discussion that we need to have, and this forum seems perfect.

    • meg

      It’s the best one. I coded it so it will come up when you google WIC wedding. Because I’m HILARIOUS.

  • Also I promised my best friend that by the time she has a baby I’ll be able to knit it leg warmers. So I suppose I should get on that.

    • Class of 1980

      There should be a rule that every newborn gets rainbow leg warmers.


    • meg

      It was cooked into all the tasty treats ;)

      • Y’all crack me up! Incidentally, I *did* slip some placenta into Meg’s drink. Shhh!

  • Caroline

    Can we please please please talk more here about working and having babies? We’ve talked a little bit, and Meg has talked a lot about working for yourself (which I’ve really enjoyed). But lately since I went back to school, we’ve started talking about maybe me doing some sort of high-powered professional interesting work, and my partner being a stay at home dad. Which is super exciting and super duper scary. So I’d like to talk a lot more about work and women and feminism and babies and the balance thereof.

  • I was dreading going to this event.

    OK, I said it. It’s out there. I was not. Looking. Forward.

    Meg asked three groups to raise their hands: married people, engaged people and people who are “happily neither.” I can’t say with total accuracy that I fit into any of those categories; I am, by my own proclamation, “shackin’ up,” but I feel a little bit like the crazier parts of http://t.co/tHL3JJo most of the time lately. So, while I love the site, and love that my BFF Emily had a print nod in the book, and love that she traveled a long way to see me and to attend the book talk, and love feminism and Young Blood Gallery…I was not at all jazzed about getting together in a room filled with members of clubs to which I cannot claim membership.


    I am so incredibly grateful that the Atlanta book talk *just so happened* to be about being female in business. And motherhood in business. And declaring–and living up to–our value, as women, as bosses, as creators. I took so much away from it that I did not expect, and I’m so happy about it. Thanks to everyone who was there, asked questions, helped organize, and a special thanks to the baker who made those BANGIN’ mini-cupcakes.

    • meg

      There is very little wedding talk at any of these events, actually. Factually. Maybe 25% of the whole tour has been about weddings, and that might be high.

      • RJ

        Maybe that’s a sign that your next book should be about women balancing career and businesss…

        • RJ

          Perhaps not “should” but “could”

          Although “Reclaiming Wife” is also a good title…

        • RJ

          I’d also like to buy your take on the “First year of marriage” or “Being your own boss – the countdown from minus one to plus one” if you happen to sell them any time soon:-)

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