Bowls & Books


Soup's On

This past week buzzed with activity for me.  Not that I’m not always busy.  But two very different and new activities for me filled two days, one right after the other.

On Wednesday late afternoon I participated in the Bowls and Books fundraising event for the ongoing restoration of our local community theater building.  Area restaurants donated different soups which were judged by the eaters.  Bragging rights for the next year is one of restaurants best rewards.  Also the event lures new customers to a restaurant in the future.  The community theater group gets funds to continue their work rehabbing the gorgeous theater, and local authors get the chance to do a meet and greet as well as the possibility of selling books.

Amazing soups, appetizers and dessert as well as meeting potential readers?  How could I not agree to do so? 🙂 Seemed like a win-win situation for all of us.

The three hours went very well: For the group putting on the event, for the participating restaurants with fantastic soups, appetizers and desserts, and for the authors.  While I talked with many potential readers and sold books to some, the memory of two readers will stay with me.

Writing takes characters

One was a young man (13 years) who stopped by my table because he was attracted to my book cover.  I was intrigued by his shirt (as you can see from the photo; its slogan tied into the last few posts on characters).  We talked about the book and writing. He mentioned he wanted to be a writer.  Then he left to get his soup.  He came back about 20 minutes later and asked “What’s the most important trait for someone who wants to write?”

I thought a moment, answered, and then he asked another question and another—all on elements of how I plot, do research, use characters, set goals etc.  Each time I answered, he left, then returned to ask another one.  His questions were incisive and well thought out.   I’ll never forget him or his questions.  He asked to take a photo of me so he could tape it to his computer.  “For inspiration,” he said.

He didn’t buy a book.  I told him the book was aimed for an older audience.  “Oh, I get it.  I’d enjoy it more in a few years.”  I nodded.  “That’s what you mean when you mentioned to always think about who you are trying to reach.”

Wow.  His teachers must consider him a gift in the classroom.  I know I would have. 🙂

I agreed and wished him all the luck in the world.  Imagine what this marvelous young man will be like in ten years!  I expect he will have already done some writing and gotten it published in student magazines and school newsletters.  He’s already pursuing the dream.

The second person I’ll always remember was a man there with his girlfriend.  They  were both attracted to my book because of the cover.  (Got to love that great Wild Rose Art department) They skimmed the laminated article I had on my table about my first book signing last fall.  They also asked a lot of questions about the book.  From their questions I inferred they were avid readers.  After several minutes they entered the area where the soups were but not before the man told me he would buy the book before he left.

I didn’t see him again and at the end of our time, I started packing up.  Just as I reached the exit door, the man came running up to me.  “Please tell me you didn’t sell all your books!” were his first words.  I shook my head.  “Great, I was afraid I’d missed my chance.  Can you please sell me one now?”

Well, you know my answer to that one.  Pleased as punch I walked back in, signed the book, talked to him a bit more, and took his money.  He told me he’d email from my website to let me know how he liked it.

I’d say those three hours were well-spent.  Everyone who stopped asked great questions about writing and my book and others I’m working on.  Not all bought a book, but I think they might remember my name and buy the next time I encounter them.  On so many levels, those hours were productive.  Next week I’ll post about doing Career Day at a middle school in my hometown.  It too was an awesome experience, one I’ll be happy to do again.  What have been your awesome experiences lately?

If you are celebrating Easter or Passover, may your holiday be blessed and spent with family.

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6 Comments on “Bowls & Books”

  1. Edie Says:

    What a great idea! I’d love to go to something similar. And I’m crazy about the Got Character? shirt. The kid looked so cute and earnest.

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    Oh, Edie,

    He was so earnest and totally delightful. I know I made a bit of difference in keeping him on track. The event was really spectacular also. They had over 600 people paying to taste soups and vote. Some came for lunch and some for dinner. I think the beautiful day also helped attendance as the event was down at the lakefront and who didn’t want to be there when the sun was shining and the temps were unusually warm. 🙂

  3. Nancy Kaye Says:

    I loved the picture of the boy and his shirt. What a fun experience for both of you. It’s such a joy when you meet a child like that. I had some over my teaching career, and I still remember them.

  4. caseyclifford Says:

    Hey, Nancy,

    Thanks for stopping by. I know how busy you’ve been lately. 🙂

    He was a charmer, all right. And someone I’ll always remember.

  5. Deb Maher Says:

    I agree with Edie & Nancy about the Got Character boy…what a delight! I immediately pictured one of my sons in that role when they were his age. The career day sounds delightful, and so rewarding. You’re a role model!

    My most recent awesome experiences were more personal. Today I heard from my niece-in-law who met up with a HS classmate of mine. I haven’t seen the lady since high school but she told my niece, in great detail, about an experience we shared as seniors and remembered it as well as I did.

    Second experience was in a department store fitting room when all of the tops I brought in to try on actually looked good. Didn’t buy them all but it felt great. Awesome. Yes, you will know me when you see me, but even a few pounds makes a difference.

  6. caseyclifford Says:

    Deb, I’m so happy about your fitting room joyful moment. And that a classmate remembered in detail your H experience. The boy was at the Bowls and Books event. I’ll blog about Career Day on Sunday, where I found some marvelous characters in the 12-14 year olds and tons of help in doing research.


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