Sunday, February 21, 2016

Part II

I've had a couple friends ask me how things went.

"You did an awesome job... you were natural and engaging. From experience you know that's a lot with that age group."

"You did an excellent job. The students really enjoyed your talk."

This is what I'm told, and I guess nothing particularly disastrous happened. I arrived on campus on time, but between locating the front office, signing in, waiting for someone to walk me to the right location, all I had time to do was greet my contact, and walk into a room with a large group of restless teenagers who suddenly decided they would all stare at me.

Going in, I had planned to show them the next books in the series. I took them, thinking it would be a great opportunity for marketing, to talk to them about the first book, and then be able to physically show them that the series continued, what the covers looked like, the words therein, etc. In practice, the books stayed in my bag. I was alone on a makeshift stage that creaked when I first stepped onto it, behind a tiny podium with an impotent tail of an electrical plug dangling down, the other end connecting to a fixture bereft of a microphone. I hadn't anticipated there would be so many people. The school bought 60 books, and I still didn't think it through.

In retrospect, I said some things that I might not have had I some time to think things through, but there was no time. I talked about my book, my process, I answered the questions I had been given, and then I opened the forum for Q&A. I didn't even realize how many questions were being asked until we had to cut things short. I signed some books for about ten minutes. This, following the portion where a table of food was exposed to the teeming press. I was reminded of some of the scenes from the first Jurassic Park, a movie most of the children there hadn't seen, and yet emulated so fiercely. And then I had to go, because it was the middle of the day, at a school, so there were classes. I found myself in the parking lot walking toward my car wondering if all of it had actually happened, or if maybe I had imagined it.

I have a visitor's sticky badge bearing my name, stuck to the envelope housing my compensation for the talk. And that's what it says: author's talk, right next to the bounty of my efforts. I have to update my resume, with that, and other things.

I am so very happy that the bottom didn't fall out from under me.

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