On a recent evening when Robb was traveling and a thoughtful friend offered me a couple hours to myself, I ventured off to the independent bookstore in our neighborhood. I was planning to settle in to a comfy chair and read, read, read. And I did.
Few things nourish my soul as quickly as an escape from my children and some uninterrupted time with a good book.
But I also happened on to a book signing - quite accidentally. I had not come to the bookstore in pursuit of a real live author or a presentation of any kind, and yet I found both. In the back of the store, there were chairs lined in rows, all facing a podium with a microphone. I asked around: sure enough, many were waiting for the arrival of this local author.
Confession: I decided I wasn't interested. No thanks. I came here for alone time; I'll find another book signing to attend. Someday. More intentionally.
But as I settled into my comfy chair in the corner, an employee walked past me, escorting The Author. He is Native American, with long black hair in a ponytail that stretched down his back. He had very strong physical features of the people of his culture (but he wasn't dressed in a loincloth and headdress, just to be clear).
I watched him.
And then I decided again: Right. No thanks. I didn't come for this.
But then the bookstore employee introduced him to the crowd. And I was once again interested. The Author would be reading from his newly published title, sharing the leadership lessons we can learn from Crazy Horse. Not my typical genre of choice... so I put my nose back in my book.
But then he commanded the attention of his audience, simply by speaking into the microphone and thanking them for coming. He read from his book, he shared about his culture, and he convinced me of the leadership strategies modeled by this Native American leader.
I kept trying to get back to my book. But then he kept drawing me back.
He had acquired a respectable turnout in the audience - enough to affirm his decision to come. Anne Lamott has said that the worst ever is a book signing attended by nobody, where the author must laugh and joke with the employees who are forced to attend because they work there, and it is a big waste and embarrassment for everybody.
As I listened and watched this author, I had visions of my own book signing(s) someday. Perhaps in that very bookstore. I thought of whom I would invite, how I would market myself, and which part of my story I would tell, from both my personal history and the printed book in my hands.
I was glad people came to his.
Someday, it would be really great if you could come to mine.