Friday, July 19, 2013

A Series of Firsts

There's an old saying that goes, There is a first time for everything: The first time you ride a two-wheeler, the first time you make the baseball team, the first time you kiss a girl. But when you’re a writer, you discover there is a whole new set of Firsts waiting for you.
Your first novel
Your first submission
Your first rejection
Your first contract
… Your first bit of recognition

I’ve enjoyed a little notoriety on occasion; “Oh, you’re Danielle’s dad,” or “You’re Maggie’s husband.” That sort of thing. But this past Monday was the first time I could remember where folks have come looking for me, and didn’t want to beat the crap out of me for something I might of … probably did.

I arrived at work around my usual start time of fifteen-minutes late, and after tending to the business delagated by my morning coffee, I returned to my office to find one of the folks I work with, smiling to beat the band, waiting outside my office … for me. In her hand, she held a copy of Chain of Evidence. Amazon had shipped early.

“This arrived Saturday,” she announced. “Would you sign it for me?”

Sign it? The book? Now? But I’m not ready. I ... I have a meeting. My car has a flat. I have to phone my dentist. I think I hear my mother calling.
Yep. It was my first book signing. Random thoughts overwhelmed my pea brain.
I don’t know what to say.
What should I write?
It had to be profound!
But I’m not profound.
Maybe just scribble something illegible ... like a doctor.
We stepped into my office and sat down and she handed me her copy of my book. That in itself was a first. Another person owned a copy of a book that I wrote, and actually paid for it with cash money, but what unnerved me was the way she looked at me; as if something great was about to happen.
My stomach flipped over and I felt nauseous. The room closed in and the air became thick and warm. I began to perspire. I fumbled around for the pen in my shirt and realized my hand was shaking. I’d never felt like that before.
Another first.
I didn’t need her name. I already knew her. But I asked her what she wanted me to write in the book, because I sure as hell didn’t know.
“Just write what you always write,” she suggested.
And that’s the rub. I never wrote anything in a book before; other than my name, and that was only to prove ownership in a court of law when I went to college. Those college girls, they'll….
Never mind.
Her book was my first signing, and that’s when it dawned on me.
I opened to the first page and wrote:
This is my first.
Hope you enjoy it.
Of course, it didn’t look nearly that good. My hand was still shaking and I signed it starting with the “B.” Glad I left some space on both sides of it for the other two initials.
So that was my first experience signing a novel, and I suppose I better get it down before the launch in two weeks. There will be many people there, and not all of them family and friends. There will be folks in attendance that have decided I am worthy of their time and have indicated they would like to come celebrate this achievement with me, and while I resist using the word “Fans,” I want everyone to know how much I appreciate their interest in my work.
Hopefully, you’ll be interested in the next one too.
Thank you, all.

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