Wednesday, July 16, 2008
DFW Reading, 07-12-08
B&N, Southlake Town Center
sorry it's taken me so long to post this. i got back to Austin and there's been a flurry of stuff to do. a FLURRY!
in short, the reading went off pretty well.
you never really get used to this.
104 folks showed up. admittedly, a lot of these people were my friends--it turned into a giant reunion--but 30-40% were people i didn't know. (it's a tough scenario to see people who you haven't in ages. like a wedding, you shake their hand and the line moves on. note to self: need to have a reception next time.)
we sold a bunch of books. Barnes and Noble was pleased. (the manager even came up to meet and thank me. the MANAGER!) props to Angie, the Community Relations Manager. she did a brilliant job of setting the reading up.
C. Wahl of the Fort Worth Star Telegram was kind enough to post an announcement of the event on the front page of their Saturday "Your Life" section.
i love me some Fort Worth Star Telegram
Russ was superb on the percussion. Melissa J. came to my rescue once again--she's my own personal Supergirl--and shot the pictures. (which was a challenge because we weren't in the children's section of the store. we were in front of Giant Bright Blinding Windows.)
we are only shadows in this world... NOT Mel J. photo
here's a shout-out to Bridget, who i met. a reader of this blog, she says.
to say i was honored that everyone came out to see me and support me is an immense understatement.
with those crazy Canfields
this was a larger venue than i've been in so far. i read on a microphone, also something new. each reading is different. each audience is different. i try to learn something from each one.
not being in the intimate setting of the Barnes and Noble children's stage made it tougher to connect with the kids. they participated in the animal noises and the "air" instrument playing, but not as much as other readings. i pulled back a little because one of the little boys on the front row--he looked like he was six, he is so tall, but is really FOUR--got scared and climbed into the second row and into his mother's arms. (he was okay by the time we got to the signing. he even answered questions during Q&A.)
small groups are easy. you pull your performance down to their level. theaters and stages are easy. you go big. it's the in-between venues that take some negotiating. (playing small enough for the kids on the front row, and big enough for the people in the back of the room is an interesting balance.)
question and answer time got off to a slow start. more like a no-start.
"does anyone have any questions?"
the proverbial cricket chirping.
"well then, let me tell you a little bit of what Animal Band is about..."
(it's about music. "duh," you say. kid instruments--maracas, tambourines, xylophones, drums--play front and center. i hope for it to be an introduction of these things to children. sort of like when we went to the symphony i was in grade school. when a kid picks up an instrument, he puts down something else. it's good for their mental development and is an early encouragement for the arts, which are a vital part of our culture.)
this loosened things up. a little girl raised her hand. she asked an excellent question. (which i don't remember.) then other hands went up. more questions were asked.
"dogs jump up and touch their hands," said a three year-old, ("yes, yes they do.")
"how long is the car [that leaves in the beginning] gone?" (which is a long and involved answer. the short version is look at the clock. three hours.)
Walter and his clock. Walter is the bar-none favorite of the kids who read the book.
to be honest, some of these questions are the first time i've thought about those things. (i spent lots of time thinking about the book, just not THOSE specific questions.)
a little girl raised her hand. with her eyebrow cocked she said, "do you really think animals do this when we're not around?"
(how to answer this one without making her feel silly? ...or making me feel silly?)
"i don't know that they DON'T do this when we're not around," i said, "do you know that they don't?"
she shook her head.
"i mean, they don't have thumbs, so they couldn't play the guitar like we can," i continued, "but with their paws they could definitely play the drums."
i thought it was a compelling argument. in the end she didn't buy it. she continued to shake her head disapprovingly. (she's got bright future as a White House correspondent if she wants it.)
the truth is, i love question and answer time for this very reason. you've got to be on your toes. (it also adds some entertainment value for the parents--i hope.) i'd do the readings for no other reason than to answer questions. (meeting the readers is also the best part. can there be two best parts? most best and best best. fo shizz.)
i don't have the photos from this reading yet. when i get them, i will post them and the highlights from the last reading. (that Brandy so generously shot.)
also, video footage was shot, so there should be a posting on Youtube in the near future. (this is not a joke.)