Slow Moving Dreams

Tuesday, July 05, 2005 at 9:43 AM

California dreaming

July 5th-- I took a trip to California to visit the independant bookstores on the coast to try and promote some interest in my book. We started in San Diego and headed north. I should tell you that before this year, I had never spent any time in California. I'd popped in a couple of times for depositions but i never saw anything. It is a beautiful state and the Pacific Coast Highway drive is one of the most spectacular scenic routes in the world. in fact, the mountanous coastal terrain, the rocky coast and the overhead vistas reminded me of the west coast of Ireland, in particular, the Ring of Kerry. that's no small praise coming from an Irishman.

Back to the bookstores. I'm a novice at this stuff and I'm not the best self promoter in the world so I was a little apprehensive. On the whole, the California booksellers treated me very well. In L.A., Doug, the owner of Dutton's came out to meet me personally and told me that when I'm in L.A. to consider this my home base. What a nice thing to say to a first time author from a small publishing company. He could have been busy. In Santa Cruz, Neil, the owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz fired me up. He told me that the independant bookstores are the ones that make a first time author a success. In Menlo Park, at Kepler's Books, Joe showed me where my book would be on the shelf and told me what a great spot it was because of the authors that surrounded me.

All in all, it was a great trip and I began to see what makes independant bookstores so great. It's the soul, the flavor, the dust, the character and the characters. As a special treat, I stopped into Clint Eastwood's restaurant in Carmel for a beer and while I was taking my first sip, the man himself walked in. It's funny when you see a real big celebrity like Clint-- it's almost as if he's not real. And on the other hand, you feel like you know him because you've seen him so much over the years.

I was in a quandry. My wife was back at the hotel. I could stay there and drink my beer and strike up a conversation with old Clint who was now standing almost right next to me, and tell me wife about it later and live in Purgatory for the rest of my life, or I could finish my beer and rush home and get her. Of course, you know what I did. But I hedged my bets. I turned to Clint, politely interrupting his conversation with somebody else and asked: "Clint are you going to be here for ten minutes. My wife will kill me if I don't go back to the hotel and get her." He very nicely told me that he was leaving right away. I went back to the hotel anyway, brought my wife back and Clint was still there. He was a true gentleman too. He came over, held her hand, looked in her eyes and talked to her for a few minutes. I couldn't hear the conversation because she was seated and he actually knelt down to talk to her, but I don't think it really mattered what was said. When he left, she turned to me and said: "I just touched the hand that touched an Oscar." I knew then that I had made the right decision.

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