Barnes and Noble in Vancouver, Washington
My overall plan for the tour was to visit bohemian enclaves, but this booking, as the only one made on my behalf by Random House, had to be addressed nonetheless. Vancouver, Washington, is about malls, tract homes, car lots, chain franchises--another sector of society, not the one that bought Living On The Earth and is buying it again.
Mind you, Maria Moscarella, the very friendly community relations coordinator, did everything she could to entice customers into trying something new. She had seen the original edition and liked it. She offered me treats from the cafe (I had a lovely hot herb tea), and helped me set up.
These mega-stores give an overwhelming feeling of instant gratification, as giant photos of Alice Walker, Isabel Allende, and other radical writers beam approvingly over the scene. I had no idea there were so many guidebooks ...For Dummies in existence. Every year there is still a Marilyn calendar and an Elvis calendar. Scary.
Nobody showed up at 7 PM, so I serenaded Maria for a while. She appreciated my efforts and presented me with a gift certificate good at any B&N anywhere.
Just when I had finished packing up to leave, the reason for my rendez-vous with this venue showed up. Lorna, late because she just got off work, drove in from neighboring Battlefield, Washington. She writes in her journal daily ("sometimes three or four times in a day..") and aspires to write non-fiction. We sat down and had a long talk. "Nobody told me at nineteen that I couldn't write a non-fiction book, so I just wrote it," I told her.