Last night friends and family and loyal readers and complete strangers gathered at the Barnes and Noble in Blue Back Square for the first appearance of my book tour. An estimated seventy-five people showed up to listen to me speak and read, and many were kind enough to purchase my book in bushels.
A few comments from the evening’s festivities:
1. There were definitely not enough seats, and not nearly enough room for the crowd. At one point I felt bad for sitting after noticing that so many people were standing.
2. My daughter’s great grandmother asked the first question of the evening. My writing career began in her Floridian home when I found myself bored and bereft of the Internet and nothing else to do.
3. Three people brought me gifts, which was a first. And all three gifts were great. I’m going to take them to tonight’s appearance and make the people feel bad for not bringing me any gifts. And I’d love to find a way of perpetuating this tradition at future appearances.
4. I did not settle on a standard catchphrase to include when signing the book, but I used Michael Kindness’s suggestion of “Expectedly,” as well as my own “Still in search of a clever quip” several times. I tried to mix things up a bit and see what felt right. I like both but am still looking to upgrade.
5. I mistakenly told the audience that my wife is messy while attempting to answer a question about my possible propensity toward OCD. I spent the rest of the night looking for ways to make it up to her.
6. My friend, Tom, was identified by a complete stranger based upon a blog post that I wrote about him and a few disparaging references made about him while I spoke. It’s amazing how transparent my life has become, and by proxy, the lives of some of my friends.
7. I rewarded the person with the “most intriguing question” with a bottle of Smuckers grape jelly, which I opened as part of my presentation. If you read the book, you’ll understand the reference. The question:
What is your favorite chapter in the book?
I was immediately torn between two options but finally settled on chapter 24, which is in many ways the heart of the book, at least for me.
8. I always recommend other books at my appearances, and last night I recommended five. They were:
STITCHES by David Small: A graphic novel and memoir about the author, who received radiation treatments as a child from his father in order to cure his asthma, leading to the loss of vocal cords. And that was just the beginning of the horrors that he was forced to endure.
THE FERMATA by Nicholson Baker: The hilarious story of a man who can stop time and uses this power to undress women.
THE EX-BOYFRIEND COOK by Erin Ergen Bright and Thisbe Nissen: An amusing cookbook containing the recipes, stories and artifacts collected from the authors’ ex-boyfriends.
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA by Nathaniel Philbrick: The true story of the Essex, a whaling ship that was sunk by a sperm whale in the nineteenth century, and the inspiration for Melville’s MOBY DICK. This is the book I recommend the most often.
ARMEGEDDON IN RETROSPECT, by Kurt Vonnegut: A collection of twelve non-fiction pieces by the author on the subject of war and peace. Perfect for someone who has difficulty with Vonnegut’s unconventional fictional style but appreciates biting satire, keen observation and laugh-out-loud humor.
It was a lot of fun and an excellent way of starting off a book tour. Many thanks for all who came up and supported the cause!