Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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Just Good Manners
July 8, 2009 |
My one-year-old daughter and I met you at the Chautauqua book signing last week. Impressed at how you put each person at ease a rare skill that I'm not sure came in a package with the others you've developed (writing, performing, etc.). Does this come naturally, or is it work?
Loved the show too.
Meeting people isn't a skill, Matt, so much as just good manners. A book signing ought to be done in a certain way if you're going to do it at all. It's not nice for the author to sit behind a table unless he is elderly or infirm it makes him look like the security guy. The author is supposed to stand out in the open so that he can pose for pictures with anybody who wants to do that, and so that he can bend down and eyeball young children. The author is supposed to sign anything that anybody brings him. The author takes no breaks and he signs books until the line is gone. And the author is supposed to be friendly to each person and make eye contact and be pleased to see them. I've done book signings that went on for six hours and that is physically taxing, but it's worth it. I sit in a room alone and write a book and I am curious who is going to read it. Deeply curious. A book is personal, and here, facing me, is the other person. So I take my time. And if he has a one-year-old daughter, then that's easy. Your daughter is your ticket to special treatment wherever you go, Matt. I know. I used to have a one-year-old. Take her to Italy and you will be royalty.