Just the other day I realized that I have been helping facilitate Reading events with the illustrious Elliott Bay Book Company now for ten years. In that time, I have seen such a variety of authors and events that I could barely attempt to synthesize them all. Some authors charm the audience with genuine affection, others seem jaded by the tour circuit or their own success
(This passage is from an event I worked with David Sedaris in 2008. I was inspired to unearth it after completing the Blog entry above about recent events I worked with Sedaris and Colin Powell).
The author arrives almost directly from the airport and I take him to the table where he will sign books. It is nearly an hour before he will begin the reading but he prefers to connect with the audience in advance. One man remembers previous visits the author made to the bookstore when he circled the waiting crowd, shaking hands and talking to people, all of whom seemed awed and shocked by the generous attention they were given by the star of the show.
He is talking to people now as they come to his table with their books open. He first gets the person's name. Then he asks one or two stock questions, “Who did you come here with? How old are you? Do you have a job? Do you like owls?”
Undoubtedly even an oclophobe would tell the author, “Yes, owls are great.” The author is already sketching a specimen on the title page and saying, “You know, when we hear owls we hear hoo, hoo. But, what owls are really saying is…” And here the author draws a cartoon dialogue bubble beside the owl beak and writes as pens in, I like black people. “We just don't know how to understand owl,” he explains.
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