Scenes from a Book Signing

Dennis Lehane was in Ann Arbor on Tuesday so I went to see him. I haven’t beenn to many book signings these days for people that I’m not friends with. But Dennis Lehane is one of my biggest influences and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to see him in person and hear him read from his new book. It didn’t go very well.

I’ve been very blessed to become friends with a number of writers I consider influences. This means that when I go to one of their signings it’s a reuinion and there’s usually dinner or drinks involved. Times like that spoil me for when I go to signings for people I don’t kow personally. Dennis Lehane is one of those people. Below is the exchange between us.

Me: You’re my hero.

Dennis (awkwardly): No…

Me: Actually your process is my hero. I wasn’t able to finish anything
until I read that you threw away hundreds of pages to get a single
good page and so I wrote something and then threw away all but the
first 10 pages and then I rewrote it and threw away all but the first
20 pages–

Dennis: Have you finished anything?

Me: Yeah, actually, four books so far and–

Dennis: Because that’s the important thing.

Me: I’m actually friends with [famous writer who should not be denegraded for his association with me]

Dennis: Oh?

Me: Yeah, I told him I’d shamelessly use his name to give myself credibility with you. My friend Dave White and I stayed with him, I feel bad about this, because Dave was peppering him with questions about [another famous writer friend] and I was peppering him with questions about you.

Borders Assistant (glaring harshly, while putting the next person’s book in front of Dennis): Thank you for coming.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, after my book was signed I went to the cafeteria and waited until everyone else had gone through the line and he was on his way out of the store. I came up behind him and asked him if I could buy him a drink. he was very nice as he backed away slowly toward the door and said no.