Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.
My first book signing was an event I looked forward to and dreaded at the same time. I was eager to speak to people about my book, to invite them to spend a moment or two with me between the pages. I looked forward to the questions they’d ask, knowing these questions might show me what if anything hadn’t been fully explained and if I’d achieved what I’d set out to do.
My apprehension came from my innate shyness plus the fact this book had been an autobiography, raw in its honesty about my early life, and I thought some readers might judge the person ahead of the work.
I needn’t have worried. It was a pleasant event, beginning with an introduction by poet/writer Jacqueline Lonsdale Cuerton that segued into me reading selected passages from my book before opening the room to questions. I enjoyed this part of the event the most, always comfortable when I am confident of the subject matter. Book sales were another enjoyment, with people lining up to purchase a signed copy.
And then it happened, when a woman of similar age and of vague familiarity reached the table.
‘You don’t remember me do you?’
I had to admit to not recalling her name.
‘Carol,’ she said with pride, ‘We were in the same class at high school.’
A few more prompts and I was right back in the discomfort of those years. I smiled and made a polite response, smiling and hoping for some nice recollection from her.
‘I wasn’t allowed to play with you at school.’ She boasted, as if this was some sort of achievement, her voice loud enough to still the chatter in the room and turn attention to her. ‘My mother said you were a widgie. She said I wasn’t to mix with you or your sister.’
For the non-Aussies reading this post, a widgie was the female counterpart of a bodgie, a word used in the 1950s to describe a young Australian male, distinguished by his conformity to certain fashion of dress and loutish or rowdy behaviour.
‘Well, you would have been in good company, then.’ I smile at her crassness.
She continued as if I hadn’t spoken, ‘But you’ve both done well for yourselves, considering.’
And also considering, or perhaps, in spite of her inappropriate comments, I did enjoy the afternoon.