January 1, 2015
Sue, the Manager at Crown Books in Woodland Hills, was very helpful. She displayed my poster, ordered coffee, set up tables and brought out chairs on a chilly December 14 afternoon. The only problem was that she was setting up my book reading in a corner of the Children’s Book section.
Seated there on a very small chair was a trustworthy daddy looking after his six-year old daughter, who was checking out the picture books. I left the two of them to guard the Costco holiday cookies as two writer-buddies, Stephen Sobel and John Buchak volunteered to move tables, chairs and books north of the kiddy shelves and a little closer to adult fiction.
We were still arranging chairs when guests arrived. I was thrilled that so many of my friends had responded to postcards, Facebook, E-mail messages and Story Salon announcements and were filling the seats before me.
The great surprise was seeing Catherine Bramhall enter with Rosa and Jenny, whom I hadn’t seen in many years. “Love in the Time of Chanukah” was definitely a story I would read that afternoon because the characters and setting would be recognized by these three women who used to teach with me in Pacoima.
I began the reading with thank yous and greetings and then apologies and embarrassment for not being able to find in my over-sized hand bag the paper with notes or the book with page markings.
I ended the afternoon with more self-confidence as I read “Date Night” a story about the exciting Scrabble game that has replaced sex in some relationships. I realized that I may be an entertaining story teller, but I am not only disorganized, but also a very unskilled business person. I ran out of books at the peak of the Christmas season sales.
I left some cookies with the book store personnel and was sorry I didn’t have books to replace the ones on the shelf that had just been purchased. I was able to spend some time reminiscing with the colleagues I hadn’t seen since we were all much younger. They reminded me of some of the experiences we shared at Montague Elementary School.
I used one of those experiences to inspire a new story about a Christmas lesson that backfired. I read it at Story Salon the next week. Ellen Cox came up after and said, “Is that going to be your next book?” Yes it is Ellenh…and I’ll be sure to order more copies of the book when I appear at teacher conferences.
Lila Lee Silvern