Thursday, July 10, 2008

It Takes a Village

Last night was my book release party, a reading and signing event at a local Barnes & Noble. It was a fun time; my friend Ken from Carpe Diem Video Productions crafted an intricate video archive of the event; check back here over the next couple of weeks for the first look. I was reunited with friends from various eras and spheres of my life, and I spoke for three hours straight in an outdoor voice. My apologies to the non-Me-Ville bookbuyers last night.

I once heard a conservative humorist say he wanted to write a book called "It takes a village to raise an idiot." He was critiquing the Clinton administration--Hillary Clinton had recently released her book It Takes a Village to Raise a Child--but I nearly spit out my coffee over the title alone. It does strike me, however, that some things are best pursued not in solitude but in community, such that even something so self-indulgent as a book signing is made richer and more enjoyable by the participation of many people:

* friends who lent me their talents, such as my friend Ken the filmmaker or my friend Elaina, who got the best photo of me with my wife in recent memory
* friends such as the Arnotts, who bought me a special pen to use in signing the books
* friends such as the Cotes and the Bigelows, who already had copies of the book but who bought more just for kicks
* friends such as the Hsus and my brother Steve, who kept their kids up late or who deferred going home for the night so that they could be a part of the evening
* friends such as Myron, who didn't come to the signing, choosing instead to take care of my other responsibilities so I could be free to play
* friends such as Kristie and Mark, who patiently endured being put on the spot for the sake of the theatricality of the night
* friends such as Dave and Eric and Rachel, who scrambled from one event to the other in support of multiple friends with overlapping special occasions
* friends such as Emily, who showed up early, knowing nearly nobody

It can truly be said that a book signing without people would be incredibly sad. But last night I came home happy, because for a few hours last night I was surrounded by friends.

Sniff, sniff. I handed out a quiz last night: the first person to correctly determine which of the following fourteen quotations are from Deliver Us from Me-Ville, and which are from random crazy bloggers (emphasis on "random," I confess I took quotes out of context to make them sound crazy), gets a free copy of the book.

1. “Life is passing by so fast. Where have I been? What have I been doing?”
2. “We’re a meandering step on an evolutionary journey dictated by random events and mathematical possibilities.”
3. “The annals of power are reduced in our minds to an abstraction.”
4. “I offer all my salutations to the Guru.”
5. “A single, solitary human being couldn’t possibly embody such complexity of feeling in one life, right?”
6. “When you buy any informational product or downloadable software, do you feel better about it when it has an image of a book cover or a software box, even though you know it’s just a download?”
7. “Countless men and women are dehumanized by new technologies that render them incompetent or, at worse, inconsequential.”
8. “Don’t think too much. It's not good for my health.”
9. “The world is alternately enticed and threatened by watching us.”
10. “I simply want to retaliate.”
11. “I'm not in the sand because I was seeking the shade.”
12. “This was my first move and extremely difficult for me as I was leaving all my friends behind and starting new. Wow. I am getting way off topic.”
13. “Self-denial isn’t a willful act.”
14. “May the simple act of nourishing . . . bring you thankfulness.”

4 comments:

Bob/Sir Pent said...

Sorry I didn't make it to the book signing.

I chose instead to have a big fight with my wife which lasted until well after 7PM and ended in us not speaking for the rest of the evening.

The good news is that she's still ticked with me and it's our anniversary today!! (9 years of wedded bliss...)

David A. Zimmerman said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, Bob! Glad to hear your wife is still ticklish. (Is that OK to say?)

Anonymous said...

So I was right about the free book.
By the way Dave, BZ.
bill

Pete Juvinall said...

I know the answer! :) I read it last night and I thought 'Wow, that's an interesting sentence'.

p.s. The chapter on confession was just stellar.