I am on vacation. Just a short one - a long weekend in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. This morning, after a coffee at Bridgehead (a truly great coffee shop, by the way) and before skating on the Rideau Canal (the purpose of my visit) I stopped in at Chapters, one of the large chain bookstores here in Canada. I found the fiction section and saw they had three copies of my novel, The Last River Child on the shelf. Since I was feeling confident this morning I approached a salesperson, introduced myself and offered to autograph the copies. I don't do this as often as I probably should. Mostly because I don't usually feel confident enough to. But every time I do manage to work up the nerve the exact same thing happens, and I am always amazed.
Take this morning for instance: the sales woman was thrilled to meet me, she introduced me to a few of her coworkers, found me a nice pen to sign with and put a few of those fancy stickers that say "signed by the author" on the cover of my book. Did you spot it? The thing that always amazes me? No one has asked me yet to prove that I am Lori Ann Bloomfield. They just take my word for it that I am the author.
This amazes me. Truly. It makes me want to pretend to be all sorts of people and do all sorts of things. I mean, how much could a person get away with? If they had the nerve. Which I don't. But I enjoy dreaming about it.
Posing as a Famous Writer is Easier Than You Think
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Ha! I love this!
On a related note, I sometimes have to fight the urge to take a book to the sales desk and tell people, "I know this author." Because that would make me truly pathetic.
I do confess, though, that there are a few authors through whose work I judge every bookstore and library I drop into. If I have the time, I browse the shelves or the catalogue for their work, and if the library or bookstore has the book, they pass. It's a pretty absurd thing to do, but I've had some fun with it. It's amazing sometimes where things turn up. One of my first writing mentors, I found a very early and out-of-print copy of his poetry (which didn't have a large press run to begin with) sitting on the shelf in a little used book store several hours north of where he lived. I bought the book. The guy I wrote my masters thesis on, I actually photograph copies of his books on particularly foreign shelves. I recently came across an early reprint (and a British edition, at that) of his first book, a collection of short stories, on the shelf in a little mall bookstore here in Abu Dhabi, which is awfully far afield from his hometown in southern Alabama or his current home in Oxford, MS. And sure enough, I borrowed my wife's camera phone and snapped a pic of it. And then I bought it.
Maybe I should have claimed to be him. :)
I have criteria for judging bookstores as well, but not nearly as organized as yours. Though your story did give me a flashback to when I was a little kid I had this madcap way of judging dictionaries - if the dictionary had the word "kaleidoscope", it passed my test and was deemed good. But otherwise it flunked (and clearly whoever was responsible for compiling this sad excuse for a dictionary was not a Beatles fan). I have no idea where I got this from - I was an odd kid. And I grew up in the sort of place that found words like kaleidoscope deeply suspicious and tried to keep them out of the hands of children.
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