Author Blog Challenge # 22
Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.
The book signing I am writing about wasn’t my first, but it was possibly the most memorable – although for all the wrong reasons. I had been invited to give an author talk to a group of writers, with sales and signings to follow, an event I’d been looking forward to since the booking had been made. After a pleasant luncheon, we moved to the lounge area where the talk was to take place, all on our best behaviour and me more than most, after all, I had revealed so much of my childhood in the book I was promoting, I wanted to show how far I’d distanced myself from those inglorious beginnings. All went well during the talk, with attentive listeners asking the expected questions and then the line formed – the length of which is always determined by the number of sales, each person waiting patiently, book clutched in expectation and the chance of a whispered question or two once they reached the table; a civilised gathering, with no pushing or shoving or other impatience. It was as it should be.
We were getting toward the end of the line when I heard her speak. I suppose I had been aware of her voice striding over the more contained conversations of others, but I’d taken no notice. Now she could not, would not, be ignored.
She asked if I remembered her from school.
I told her I didn’t.
I have a good, long distance memory, but drew a blank with this one. Surely I would have remembered a voice like that.
She told me her name.
She told me – therefore the rest of the room and anyone within hearing distance for several blocks (well it felt like that anyway) – how her mother had forbidden her to associate with me when we were at school. Or my sister – she added for good measure.
I suggested she would have been in good company, digging my pen into the page as I spoke, willing her to pass by and on to other topics with other people.
No such luck. A curious audience stood by waiting for the next revelation. If she was reflecting in the glory of having once known me, others were eager to bask in the limelight, no matter how dim.
The story continued with great amusement. Her mother had told her I was a widgie (Australian slang in the 1950s and 60s for a female larrikin or bodgie). Others, unfamiliar with the term or the culture interrupted.
What’s a widgie?
A female bodgie.
What’s a bodgie?
An undesirable! There, I’d said it for her. In one short statement I had owned it, wrapping myself in the sentiment and smiling at the faces before me.
It was over – or nearly so – apart from her parting compliment – at least I assumed it was compliment.
She said I could be proud of myself for all I had achieved - considering where I came from.
And, all things considered, I was.
~ Merlene Fawdry