Ok, I take back all the things I said about book signings. I still feel very uncomfortable, being the center of attention, or having clerks tell customers that there is an author here today (do I wave or just pretend I don’t hear?).
But something happened today that made all the uncomfortable feelings worth it. I was at the Seagull Book on Redwood Road (curse road construction, and idiots who think that since the lane is merging, they can drive up the side and then butt in line), and it wasn’t too bad. There was another author there, so we could chat with each other. This allowed customers to approach the table without fear of us strong-arming them into buying our books.
Anyway, a woman approaches and I notice that a young boy is hiding behind her legs, he was probably about 8. The mother dragged him around to the front and pushed him forward. He shyly handed me a copy of my book on CD and asked me to sign it.
I proceeded to do so, and asked him if he had listened to them yet (they weren’t purchasing it, rather they had driven across town with their own copy after hearing that I was at this store). The next thing I know he is gushing about his favorite parts. His shyness forgotten, he waved his hands, and told me the parts that had made him laugh. Sometime during his discourse his sister wandered in and started telling me her favorite parts. Their eyes were sparkling, as I’m sure were mine.
It made my day.
Not that they drove across town to meet me, not that they were ‘praising’ my book. But because they were telling me they thought it was funny. They had laughed. The mother told me they turned off their movies so they could listen to the book.
The high point of this whole project, the one event that made the whole process worth it, was a dark December night, when I read chapter 18 to my father and about three of my brothers. By the time we were done, tears were streaming down our faces, and our bellies hurt because we were laughing so hard. I knew what was going to happen, there was no reason for me to laugh, but I could barely see to read the words through the waves of laughter.
Laughing is what it’s all about, and to think that these two kids, Kimber and Logan, listened and laughed over my book makes me happy.
So, I’ll still dread book signings, but not quite as much.