Sunday, April 19, 2009

rain & recovery

This weekend was my first opportunity to go out and about as an "author" at the Southern Kentucky book fest. First, there was the authors' reception. We donned business attire. I had a glass and a half of wine, awkwardly talked to a few writers, spilled a mushroom canape down the front of my black dress, and couldn't wait to go home to eat cereal for dinner on my couch! Meanwhile, my (normally shy) professor managed to talk to the president of his university, a dean, and Kevin Clash, or the Sesame Street puppeteer better known as Elmo.

Saturday went better. On Saturday, there was an all day "book signing" event, as well as panel discussions. At the beginning of the day, I saw the enormous stack of 20-some books and felt worried. I brought my knitting and spinning and settled in for the long haul! To my surprise,nearly everyone who said they might come to see me--did. It was fun to see my friends walk away with a signed copy of the book...and I got to do some fun inscriptions. (One book was inscribed to the friend and "the Eleanors"--that's what we call her chickens. The Eleanors provide us with eggs every now and again, I am grateful for their hard work!) Another book was bought as a present for a shearer whose photo is in the book...another fun inscription. Finally, one of the models bought books for several relatives..and I got to mention how beautiful she was in each book I signed. :)

It was also the first time I saw complete strangers rush up to the table, grab the book, and look down, pasted to the photos, and clasp it to their chests. That was my cue... "Are you a knitter!?" Their faces would light up. It was an amazing experience.

The panel discussion went well, despite a distinct absence of an audience. It was a weird combination of speakers (4 cookbook writers and me) and topics. I'd begged some friends to come, and whew, thank goodness they did! Afterwards, the food writer from the Lexington paper thanked me for inviting folks. The audience was about 8 people, and I knew 6 of them!

I returned to my "station" and spent the last hour of the festival with my drop spindle, spinning. The crowds had thinned so fewer people stared! I managed to sign and sell all but one book. I think that could be called a success? The professor took me out to dinner and I was in bed by 8:30. Turns out it's hard work smiling and being nice for that long...

Today's a day to recover. I've snapped a couple of photos of my most recent spindle-spun project for you, which I finished a couple of days ago. This is a combination of Polwarth wool/Silk from Aurelia Wool in British Columbia, Canada and Cut Silk Waste (usually for paper making, embroidery, etc.) from The Handweavers Studio in London. I buy these odds and ends as souvenirs when I travel. Then, by serendipity, I discover they match each other nicely. I hand carded the wool/silk blend with the colored cut silk waste (it took less than 45 minutes), spun it up on a Crown Mountain spindle (mine's ebony) and then plied it. It's about 40 yards of yarn, I think...perfect for knitting into some scribble lace with some Sea Silk yarn in the same pearly shades. You might be able to see the ball of yarn in the back of the photo.

Today I spun Shetland wool on my Canadian Production Wheel, listened to some folk music, and enjoyed staying home!

As an aside, I've really come to appreciate a rainy day. Both dogs just sleep nearly continuously. (when compared to highstrung barking and chase from window to window? Give me rain! It's quiet AND it makes the flowers grow.)

The book signing made me wonder--how important is it to you to know or meet the author of a book? Is a book signed by the author more valuable to you? What do you think? I'm curious...

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8 Comments:

Blogger Willow said...

I am certainly more likely to hang on to a signed copy of a book. I buy books sparingly so all the books I have are doubley precious.

April 19, 2009 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

My signed copies are very precious to me. Just like when you are spinning a fleece and you have a picture of the sheep and know its name makes a fleece more precious, so does the human element of a book signed by its author(s) make it more precious.

April 19, 2009 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger stbyra said...

It depends on the author, of course, but a signed book is much more valuable to me personally. I rarely have a signed book that has not been personalized, and that gives me a connection to that author when I get it signed. This is not to say that I wouldn't grab up an EZ book with her sig in it. I mean, if the author is dead, you have to take what you can get LOL.

April 19, 2009 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I like at least hearing an author speak, even if I don't get to officially meet her. Then, when I re-read the book, or read something else by her, I can 'hear' her voice. It's as if she's reading just to me.

Having a signed copy is the icing on the cake.

I have a couple books that I've written the author...and she's responded. Those notes are tucked into the book. These are more valuable to me & I wouldn't think of getting rid of them.

April 19, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

I think it would depend on the book, to tell the truth, as well as if the book was inscribed to me or was just signed.

Congrautlations!

April 20, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

There was an article in our local paper not long ago about the man behind Elmo. Apparently he has some sort of Baltimore background. It was a charming article and he seems like such a happy person.

I don't mean to denigrate authors by saying that I tend not to be an autograph seeker for my books. I'm so unhelpful! I tend to assume that a person is manifest in their work as it stands.

April 20, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Donna Druchunas said...

I don't care about getting books signed, but I love hearing authors speak. I usually end up buying more of their books after I hear them do a reading or give a talk.

April 20, 2009 at 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Mickey said...

Lovely spun yarn, and you survived your book signing. Good for you! If you can put up with fiber fanatics who go out to "meet and greet" their wool providers, everything else becomes easy. Will you be at the Southern Festival of Books in Oct. in Nashville? I know there is a fiber festival in Tenn. in May but I don't know exactly where. Will you be there? If Chicago is not on your book signing agenda, family in Nashville will have to obtain signed edition for me.

April 21, 2009 at 6:00 PM  

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