On Monday night I had my first ever book reading and signing, at Borders Books in Eugene. It was indescribably flattering and fun, but also humbling.
I walked into the store about twenty-five minutes before the reading, and happen to catch sight quickly of where a head table and group of audience chairs had been set up for the reading. There was even a little placard with my name, a picture of the book and an announcement of the signing. And there was even someone sitting in the audience already. I couldn't believe it - someone here this early? Wow! A few minutes later, though, when the store manager asked me to sit down at the author table and sign some books for the store to sell later, I happened to notice that the audience member was a grown woman reading out loud to herself (in full voice) a copy of Cinderella and laughing maniacally every few seconds. I'm not a big believer in signs and omens, but it felt like a reminder that I was having with this first reading a kind of glass-slipper moment, but that taking any of it too seriously might turn one (or in this case just one's brain, apparently) into a pumpkin. Luckily, though, a few Duck fans eventually turned up, as did my uncle Bob, my dad's brother.
This has been a tough year for Bob, because not only did his dad (my grandpa) pass away in June, but Bob's son, my cousin Steve, is a pastor with what appears to be (without the help of a big assist from a higher power) terminal cancer. Bob also takes care of my elderly grandma and a gaggle of his own grandkids. So it was, like I say, humbling to have him come to the reading, buy a book and ask to have it signed, especially when I remember the guy doesn't even like Oregon football! I normally would never feel comfortable asking for such a thing, but if you're of a religious persuasion, please consider including a request for Steve next prayer around.
On a lighter note, I also wanted to pass on a podcast available online of a radio interview I did earlier this week with Portland radio station KEX. Two of the interviewers were former local TV news anchors Scott Lynn and Paul Lynman. When I first got on the phone with them, I said, "Am I on Channel 2 or Channel 8?"
I also have done a couple radio interviews by phone with stations in other states: first one in Sarasota, Florida and another in Rockville, Illinois. It was funny how opposite they were. The first one was more of a calm, one-on-one affair with this guy talking about Oregon in a flattering, inquisitive way. The second interview was with a couple of afternoon sports-talk guys. They good-naturedly but bluntly said things like, "Hey, I don't know nothing about Ore-uh-GONN out there. Have you had any good players other than Joey Harrington? Oh wait, he's not any good either." But I was surprised how much I enjoyed bantering back and forth. I may have been on their show, but the topic of choice was Oregon football, something they knew next to nothing about and I, well, know something. So I was like, "You guys are in Rockford, Illinois, right? Well, I could tell you about the couple of different times Oregon beat Illinois, in 1995 and 1993. Or I could tell you about how Oregon is ranked something like 6th all-time in the number of players it's sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Or how Oregon led the Pac-10 conference in wins in the 1990s." Luckily it never got hostile - I'd have hated that and felt bad to contributing to such unlikable radio. But the barbs were all done with Nerf weapons, so to speak, and that meant it was a hoot. Or perhaps a quack, I should say.