This past weekend I had the wonderful pleasure of doing a book signing at Page 2 Books in Burien, WA, an event that coincided with their official grand opening.
First off, let me say the store is gorgeous. Well laid out, tons of natural light, hardwood floors (a deep seated and well programmed favorite from my days in NYC), it had a combination of new book smell and pine. The owners, Jenny Cole and Bill Virgin, were both friendly and easy to talk to, and their love of books and of their store simply flowed off them. Bill chatted me up several times over the three hours I was there, about writing, about boxing, about New York, and I enjoyed the conversation. The saleswoman on the floor, Cathy, also took time out of her break to chat me up, and plied the conversation with homemade cookies (yeah, I gained three pounds).
I chatted up several of the adventurous and curious customers Bill and Jenny directed my way (sidebar: thanks for that. I have a hard time standing up and saying "over here!"). A woman named Elizabeth talked to me for at least half an hour, about boxing, about her friends from Mexico, about some of her own adventures. I found myself quite enjoying it!
I spoke with a couple who lived in Queens for a year. I spoke with a young man who wanted to train to box. And I spoke to a guy who worked at a nearby model train shop (which, sadly, I was unable to find after the event was over. Pity. That would have been interesting...). All in all I had a blast!
Back to the title of this post, that signing was the culmination of years and years of dreaming and hard work. When I was in my early 20's and living in New York (and for quite some time after) I would wander into the nearest bookstore, head over to the part of the fiction rack where my book would be and stare at that spot for most of my lunch break. Three years ago, with the help of a good friend, I bought a button-down shirt, specifically for the purpose of wearing it to my first book signing (Okay, yeah, I'm a little nuts. So sue me.) Similarly, I get the impression that Bill and Jenny's love of books, of language and literature, drove them to purchase their store.
To them I just want to say, thank you for being part of my dream, and for allowing me into yours.