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Monday, May 26, 2014

I Gotta Lotta Nerve

As ready as we're going to be....

You need nerve to run a bookstore in the first place, and you need even more to mount bookstore events. Friends approaching a recent event of their own were understandably nervous ahead of time. “What if no one comes? What if too many people come?” I assured them that it was impossible for “too many” people to show up, and that if “no one” came we could simply adjourn to the bar, but that it was unlikely there wouldn’t be a good crowd. Then, to ease their concern that I would think their concern misplaced, I assured them, “I go through this every single time I have a bookstore event.”  And it’s true. What if no one comes? What if the author forgets? What if the books don’t arrive in time? You gotta have nerve, friends.

Anyone who’s read this blog recently knows that my bookstore event of Memorial Day weekend was complicated, for the first time ever, by an unexpected delay in delivery of books. To be more precise, no books were even delivered: David drove down to Glen Arbor on Friday afternoon to pick up the first of the three boxes I needed to satisfy local demand, and we faced the signing with insufficient supply. You gotta have nerve--although I must say that it’s easy to be nervy about certain things in Northport, where bookstore and village and country loyalty make for very patient, understanding customer friends. 

So thanks to a gracious guest (who arrived early and stayed late), photographer Ken Scott, and a gracious bookstore clientele, we had a lovely, lovely time on Saturday, with only a small number of disappointed individuals who turned up not having gotten word about the limited supplies. Everyone loved having relaxed time for conversation with the photographer (a first meeting with him for many), and the large matted prints he brought for display and sale brought the winter's ice miracles right into my cozy spring bookshop.

Where my real nerve showed up, though, and the initial act prompting the theme of today’s post, was my pulling out my camera to attempt a photograph of an accomplished photographer like Ken Scott. No, not even like Ken Scott, but Ken Scott himself, the very man. Oh, man, what nerve! I could hardly recognize myself in the moment of action. But Ken Scott I recognized, and I have to say I was very pleased with this candid portrait:

And now it’s time to start gearing up for the next bookstore event, featuring (at the latest count), eleven poets from the beautiful new book, Poetry in Michigan. Poets committed to reading their work at Dog Ears Books on June 13 are Patricia Clark, Dennis Hinrichsen, Linda Nemec Foster, Joy Friedler, David James, Josie Kearns, Bill Olsen, Anne-Marie Oomen, Mary Ann Samyn, Alison Swan, and Keith Taylor.

We’ve never had such an event before. Will it be like herding cats? Surely not. Will the poets outnumber the audience? I want a really good turnout for so many poets coming all the way to Northport! Summer 2014 also marks the 21st anniversary of Dog Ears Books, and that being the case, I’m thinking of the Poetry in Michigan reading event as the coming-of-age party for Dog Ears, which surely calls for cake, wouldn't you say?

The official 21st anniversary is on the 4th of July, but goodness knows there will be too much going on then for a bookstore birthday. No, I don’t have enough nerve to try to pull that off! So June 13 it is going to be -- Friday the 13th!


Karen Casebeer said...

Wonderful shots of Ken, Pamela. Your event was a definite success. And, as soon as I got back home, I read Ken's new book cover-to-cover. The images and essays are beautifully done. You'll want to have many copies on hand, as this will be a popular remembrance of the Winter of 2014. Karen

Dr McDougall said...

Outstanding job with the event and the store - I enjoyed stopping by and chatting about our experiences together, with you and your husband, David (loved his artwork), and I am very impressed and pleased with the direction of the store, and your continued passion with the craft - take care to continue to light the flame of knowledge through your actions, your words, and of course, your books!

Dr. Dan A. McDougall, Biz/EdQuest (formerly Bookbrokers)

Anonymous said...

I recently bought Ken Scott's Country road series, which I've wanted for years. I do have a list of books I'd like to purchase. Will make that a stop when we come up this summer. ♡

P. J. Grath said...

Karen, I'm so glad you could be here on Sunday, and Dan, it was great to see you again and catch up on each other's lives, bookish and otherwise. I know that everyone enjoyed visiting with Ken in a casual, "living room" situation. He is a wonderfully easy-going person, as well as a talented artist.