Wednesday, February 16, 2011

" A Day at Barnes"

...the table's mostly hidden from view, round and smallish and fit for two. It supports my elbows, a bottled water, and a stack of paper, as a congestion of bookworms carouse an endless supply of literature.

I look up from my scribblings. Watch the readers, some youthful, others hobbling about on failing joints, pull novels from the shelves, skim back covers, then replace it for another. The lucky ones, those stories just aching to be read, are opened to the first page, a few paragraphs being absorbed, tickling a reader's interest. Then the moment of truth...whether the story is deemed worthy, or sent back to the shelf, a book waiting to be found.

A row to my right, sitting Indian style on the floor, her back resting against the shelf, is a young lady absorbed in vampire lore. Blazing curls the color of cinnamon cover the majority of her freckles. Her nose is buried in paper, the story of a girl named Sookie, her romantic drama of the undead holding the girl's attention at bay. She's oblivious to the many pairs of legs stepping around her.

A boy of ten or maybe twelve struts by, casting me glance, a pair of Harry Potter's clutched under an arm. From the shape of his eye wear, the design of his attire, I find myself wondering if perhaps his magic wand is poking out from the back pocket of his Levi's, the resemblance too uncanny for it to be an accident.

From my hidden spot in the cafe, I spy an elderly couple reclined in a nearby sofa. The gentleman's flipping through the pages of George Bush's new release, his wife thumbing through a Rachel Ray cook book. They hardly notice each other's presence, yet I suppose one would be lost without the other.

Sitting front and center near Barnes & Noble's entrance, her smile contagious, her pen gliding over copies of her newest release, Dandi Mackall converses with her readers, signing their books, a line of fifty or so teenage girls, mouths yapping, shoulders rising and falling in penned up excitement.

The tables next to mine are occupied. Steam rising from plastic cups like newborn spirits, each one accompanied with an opened book, a reader engrossed. Grisham and Meyer, King and Verne, Peretti and Hoag, all of their work finding a home on this day.

I watch them and I wonder. And I think, "Gee, what if..."

"Whatcha readin?"

I give a start, turn to the person standing behind me, looking over my shoulder. A young man of no more than twenty. Coke-bottle glasses causing his eyes to appear twice their actual size. Hair like straw peeking out from under a woolen cap. In his hand he's clutching the latest Koontz, the silhouette of a Golden Retriever on it's cover.

"It's a galley," I say.

"Like, a pre-book," he says. "The way a book looks just before getting published, right?"


"You an editor?"

I can't help but grin. "Today I am."

His brow wrinkles, then relaxes, realization dawning. "You wrote this?"


"Hmmph...think you're good enough to sit over there signin books like that lady's doin?"

My gaze follows his to Ms. Mackall, still signing, ever smiling. "One can dream, I guess."

He leans against my table, his attention drawn to the page I'm working on. A baseball scene. A boy with a gift.

I wait, curious, as the young man reads. A minute or two pass before he looks up. A smile forces his jaw open. I realize that his parents decided against investing in braces for him as a boy.

"That's pretty good," he says.

"Thank you."

He folds his arms, lost in thought. The smile fades. Then, "That kid...the ballplayer...really, that's good stuff, man. When's the book come out?"

"Late Spring, early Summer...hopefully."

Together, we turn back to Mackall, a writer in a chair, sharing her work with others. Then he says, "When you're sittin over there...I'll show up..."

I called David, my editor, on the way home.

"Hello El."

"'s done. It's ready."

I heard an exhale. Then, "How do you know?"

"Lemme tell ya what just happened..."

"South of Charm"--2011 :)


Roland D. Yeomans said...

I'll be in line behind that young man, Elliot. At least in spirit. You already have one sale.

You truly have a talent. With your fingers of prose, you dropped me right into the seat next to you, watching the parade of readers.

Words. They are chain links which bind like minds across the miles, across the centuries. A really great post, Roland

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

What an awesome story, Elliot. I wish you the best.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Beautiful story. Count me in as another sale.

Julie said...

I'm in!! And strangely feeling an urge to visit Barnes and Noble...what a great post!

The Golden Eagle said...

Great post; this is a wonderful story!

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks so much everyone for your comments:)

Roland, your words humble me...and on this week, they're much needed.

Thanks so much for your confidence, Wendy.

Jennifer and Julie, when available, your copies will be forthcoming:)

Eagle, we've already spoken of that review I'm hoping for...

Have a great weekend everyone!


Christine Danek said...

I'm in line holding my copy to be signed. :)
What a great story. Wonderful things are happening for you. So awesome.
Sorry I've been out of the loop. Revisions, writing, kitchen renovations...all this getting in the way of blogging.
I hope you are well and have a wonderful weekend!

Flying high in the sky.... said...

your visit and your comment made me teary...i am humbled to the core... and i am so so so so glad for you .... hope you get to sign many more books in years to come... Congratulations!

Terry Stonecrop said...

Great story! It won't be long...:)

DEZMOND said...

what is it with young ladies and vampire books? Do they really believe vampires are hotter than real men? :)

Elliot Grace said...

...Ha! Dez, you're a funny guy, but I think you've hit the nail on the head. In today's times, fangs are apparently "the thing."

I enjoy watching fellow bookworms carouse the shelves at B & N, in search of their next adventure, nearly as much as I like searching along side them. It's interesting to see what attracts a reader's eye...what they spotted that caused them to hesitate, pulling a book from it's place on the shelf. It's a fascinating way to learn what works...from a firsthand point of view:)

Thanks for reading and your thoughts.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Hi, Elliot : I've been thinking of doing a blog tour to promote my eBook. Would you consider being one of the hosts? I'm new at this, so I'm itching along. Let me know if you'd be interested, all right?

Elliot Grace said...

Roland, I'd be happy to promote your book. Send me an email with your thoughts and we'll move forward from there:)


Roland D. Yeomans said...

I seem not to have your email address, Elliot. If you could send it to me, I would get right back to you -- ah, as right back as work will allow that is. LOL. Roland

Jodi Henry said...

This is a wonderful story, glad you found the catalyst you were looking for to sure yourself up on the book being ready for the public.

Looking forward to reading it when it's out.


Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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