A nice article and photo here covering last Saturday’s event in Wausau. You will note my deer hunting beard, which with each passing year becomes more and more suited to blending into the snow-covered countryside. Also, I cherish the part about the book being printed on Wisconsin paper, since my Dad was working in a Wisconsin paper mill when I was born.
Congratulations to Books & Co., in Oconomowoc, celebrating 30 years this weekend. I always know I’m going to Books & Co. on book tour when the usually very young publicist from New York City says, “…and then you’re going to a bookstore in Oooka…Ohcoono…Onocos…” They usually give up on the third try.
Working on a manuscript in a scruffy (the best kind of scruffy) coffee shop somewhere along the California coast. A woman enters, dressed in worn coveralls and an off-kilter trucker cap. She is wearing safety glasses and rubber gloves. Her face is seamed and weathered and has that look of someone aged prematurely by time and trouble. I saw that face many times when I worked in mental health.
She stops at my elbow, leans in, makes eye contact, and in a firm, pleasant voice, asks, “Do you need any help today?”
“No thanks,” I say. She smiles kindly, dips her head, and moves on, making her way from table to table, asking each person the same question, and in turn, each person politely demurs.
She’s out the door and down the street before it occurs to me: There may be no kinder question.
A heartfelt silent thank you to the stranger I just overheard recommending my book titles to another person in a coffee shop far from home. He went 3 for 4. However: I cannot take credit for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
After roughly 3,500 Midwestern miles, tomorrow morning the Visiting Tom book tour heads for the West Coast. So grateful for everyone who has shared a kind word, a handshake, a story, a moment, and above all their time and attention over the past several weeks.
Always good to accidentally run into the person hosting your event so she has the opportunity to remind you that your performance is at 4 p.m. this afternoon, NOT 7 p.m. like you were thinking. This saves you from taking a nap in the hotel room while everyone stares at the empty podium. See you there, Bayfield.