A gather of author and listeners
Phyliss greets us at the door. Orllyene and I are at Browsers Corner in Carson City. I’ll be doing a “Meet the Author” event at 5:30 p.m. Phyliss tells us she received an area code “215” call yesterday asking if we will be “streaming” tonight’s event. It seems a trifle bizarre, and no we didn’t.
I’ve brought 20 books, a change envelope, dance photograph and my trusty music box with me. The idea of doing a few dance steps at the beginning of tonight’s soirée is tinkering with my mind.
Orllyene questions a lady wiping a stack of children’s books with a damp cloth, the nature of the project.
“These just came in. Soon as they are nice and clean, they’ll go on the shelves,” she says. Browsers Corner is a warm-hearted warren of small rooms filled with reader friendly books.
Jim is removing tables stacked with books, and replacing them with chairs. Phyliss finds an extension cord, as I requested and covers the table where I will be sitting with a shiny blue cloth. Everyone is so professional and competent. Orllyene takes her seat to my left and we are set to begin.
Sandy arrives and sits in the first row. Sandy knows her Gene Kelley-Fred Astaire-Bob Fosse-Jack Cole history and we chat. My adrenalin begins flowing.
“Sandy I’m dedicating tonight’s festivities to you and am about to begin. Phyliss rises graciously to her feet; “Ron, I wonder if I might introduce you first.” I crumble.
As soon as the group hears Frank Sinatra singing “South of the Border, down Mexico Way,” they smile and I begin dancing. Knowing the exact time to “get off,” I shift into some light-hearted story telling. I tell the story of how my mother needs a ballroom dancing partner, and dancing enters my life. After several years that develops into an infatuation with ballet that prepares me for a life as a professional dancer and eventually a choreographer. Of finding Luigi, who originates a whole new style of dance, which I glom onto like glue. I take my listeners with me to an empty rehearsal studio in Las Vegas. I’m a young choreographer. Ron Lewis, dean of choreographers, has me cornered. “What are you working on?” he asks. “A combination for my jazz class,” I mumble. Absolute silence. “May I see it?” I cue my tape recorder, and do the routine. More silence. “I think you should finish it,” he says. I start breathing. Much like the encouragement I have been receiving all evening long, it is an important moment.
Inside information is something we all enjoy, and this group has been so attentive and approving. We inspired each other.
At the evening’s conclusion six out of the eight attendees purchase books and I inscribe my thoughts into each one. Their questions have been perceptive, and their applause sincere. Tonight, for the first time, I realize that when I read my stories, it becomes entertainment, much the way my dance moves are entertainment. This has been an important night for me. Thank you Browsers Corner.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org