Blog No. 179
All my April events are done and it was quite a ride. I’m shocked at how three little events, two of which I didn’t have any part in planning, can be so hectic. It’s only five days after the last event and the first one seems years in the past. The relentless cold and surprising number of attendants of the Fogolar Flea Market is a fading memory. Thankfully I have the pictures to rely go back to. The excitement and nervousness from the Phog reading, my second reading ever, is a fading shadow in the light of this moment. The reading at the Essex Railway Station is still fresh, but every moment, the details slip further into obscurity.
I’ve always had a poor memory. Some things that are blatantly useless, like moments from television shows I watched as a child, or vague, formless feelings not attached to specific events, are sharp and clear. Important parts of my childhood, people I knew in school, what I did this morning, those things are all lost to the darkest depths of my brain, all but unreachable. It’s a strange thing that seems to have no rhyme or reason. My parents could ask me one minute to watch their dog the next day, and I can’t hold onto the memory to save my life. On another occasion, it’s all I think about until the job is done. Either way, the moment I move onto something else, the entire event, from the request to the act, vanishes.
But enough about one of my biggest weaknesses. It’s time to write about the Essex Railway Station Reading before it’s lost to the either. Some time ago, I asked a colleague, who happens to be an author and successful playwright, if he would be interested in doing a reading with Christian and myself. He agreed and when we made plans for the second Phog reading, he was at the top of the list of writers to invite. Shortly after, he approached me about doing a reading that he was planning. After a cursory discussion with Christian (because I can’t make my own discussions or something) we agreed it would be a great opportunity, and let him know we were in. Planning an event is great. Going to an event where someone else does most of the work is even better.
I haven’t spent much time in Essex. I’ve gone there a few times for short visits, but most of my Essex experience has been looking for used cars or driving past on my way elsewhere. It’s a town that can be called quaint and not be an insult. It’s pretty and the Railways Station is like a cherry on top. Working in a historic building, I tend to have an appreciation for them. The station is no different. It’s small, but filled with history, both real and imagined.
I showed up early on Saturday, knowing I had to leave by a specific time for a family obligation, and pulled up to the building the same time as the organizer. I helped him set up the chairs and a signing table then we waited. Christian showed up soon after, followed by the Linda, the fourth reader. We double checked the setup and waited. I put a facebook event page up as the organizer doesn’t have an account, but he did the usual advertisement of newspapers, community boards, and radio stations. Every one advertised the same time, except the Essex paper, which listed the event an hour later. So, when none one arrived on time, we chalked it up to the mistake and waited. In the end, the only person who showed up was our long standing supporter and friend Patrick.
While telling each other it’s alright, we packed up our things and I drove back to Windsor. I really do think it’s alright that no one came to the event. It’s disappointing, but it happens to everyone. You never know which ones will turn out successful, so you have to keep trying (and take notes so you can capitalize on what works). At least we had the experience, and I can say I did an event in Essex. In May Christian and I will be doing another Chapter’s signing and we’ll take our biggest trip as authors yet and drive to London for Shock Stock. I’ll write more about those when they are closer.