November 14, 2009:

Pouring out, bucketing down, and off I went to Greenfield, Mass, 20 minutes north, to the World Eye Bookstore to do a group book signing. Heidi was meeting me there (she had teens to drop off first in Amherst). As always, I arrived first  (next came Jesse Haas and husband, Norton Juster, Margot Apple) so I did some re-holiday shopping. I hate doing last minute run on the stores.

They’d already sold out of  Heidi’s and my Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep before the signing becaue of a lovely article and photograph in the local paper. And the hard rain kept some folks away. But we managed to sell a bunch of books more, and chatted with children who wanted to read books and adults who wanted to write books. Babies and toddlers all the way to grandparents. The usual bookstore mix.

I went from there to an Open Studio in an old industrial building in Florence where my friends Bob Marstall and Shelly Rotner work. I never did find Shelly’s place (it’s a maze there) and Bob was so mobbed, I left my coat t his studio and did all four floors looking at art, jewelry, sculpture, print-making, etc. By the time I returned to Bob’s, he was still mobbed. So I sat down and chatted with folks. He was so tired by the day, I jumped up after a breather, and did his spiel for him.

Came home early, watched some tv, read a bit of the YA werewolf book Shiver (fun, but does not wow me) and fell asleep early.

Here’s a poem I wrote about the signing:

Signing Books

Sitting in a bookstore,

surrounded by my books,

hoping for a flood of buyers

to match the flood of rain outside,

I make small talk, medium talk,

even try a bit of large talk

to cozen the few brave folks

who came out on such a day.

At these moments, the difference

between writing and selling

is not lost on me.

I was not born to be a hawker,

but a spinner of tales.

I love the near-silence of the writing room,

the soft, monotonous click of the keys

as stories leak from my fingertips,

as poems weep onto the page.

The rest is salesmanship

and clearly I am not good at it.

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