I have to thank Facebook for my slice today. I was a Facebook hold out for many, many years. The birth of my granddaughter propelled me to making the move and adding Facebook to my life. So it was just happenstance that I saw a post announcing Kevin Henkes would be speaking at our local library last night. My Wednesday evening plans were set. I would attend. Who can resist the author and illustrator of Chrysanthemum or Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse?
As I drove over to the library, I figured the library parking lot would be filled and I would have to return home. What’s that? There are lots of spaces, looks like I’m staying.
Inside the library, a line has started to form at the door. A sign indicates the doors open at 6:30, looks like I’ll be standing here for twenty minutes. While standing in line, the library staff member tells us that people will be dismissed for the book signing by rows, beginning with the front row. Guess where I sat. Smack, dab, front and center. I’m pretty pleased with myself, for now.
The room begins to fill up. The body heat kicks the AC into full blast. Chatter volume slowly rises as seats are taken. Still pretty happy with my position. Looks like we are out of seats. What? You are bringing people to sit on the floor in front of me? Not so pleased with that development.
Finally, Kevin Henkes is introduced! He begins by telling about his childhood. He’s been drawing since he was two. He writes all his books in a notebook, then types them out on a typewriter. He does not have a computer. (Now that’s hard to believe!) He is a two-finger typer and he only has two ribbons left for his typewriter. He’s a bit nervous about that. He’s superstitious and has some quirky routines. He told some of the back story of where he got his ideas. Just as we tell kids, stories are every where, he told us you just have to notice. Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse is the result of watching a six year old girl in an airport with a purse that played music when you opened it. Her dad was not happy about the purse, but she kept sneaking it open to play the music.
Last of all, he did some quick sketches of characters. Here’s Lily –
Now come the moment of truth, will the front rows be dismissed to the book signing first? No, the interloper floor sitters are sent first. Then the staff begins on the rows. As I make my way out, I see the back people making a dash for the signing. Sigh! What’s this long line? Oh, you had the people who didn’t get into the talk get in line for book signing. Sigh!
Another twenty minutes in line, my book is signed and I am on my way out. I try not to make eye contact with the l-o-n-g line of people waiting. Wearily, I make my way to the car. Tired, but happy for the experience.