So, tonight Stephanie made her first appearance on this round of tours for her new book. Karen (of the Wedding Shower), Anne (Shower Guest winner of book and signing ticket), and I met downtown at my place and piled into my car at quarter to five. We arrived just over an hour ahead of the talk and got center aisle seats in row six. Yahoo!
This photo shows the crowd about 15 minutes before Stephanie appeared. A few chairs hadn't been claimed yet, but the book store's signing area sits in the middle of a Food Court and many knitters still foraged there for dinner. Some of the adjacent dining tables also held knitters.
The requisite photo of the sock photo. Photographing someone all in brown against a black backdrop while sitting in a bright room presents some challenges for on-the-fly photography. The all-brown outfit, she said, led to a revelation that she no longer dressed, she put on backdrops for shawls.
Stephanie looked relaxed and cheerful when she came out. I felt lucky to see here on her first stop of a tour, but I think she'd always look cheerful. OK, maybe not during the Detroit airport thing, but I bet she beamed that 100 watt smile at the room once she saw how many knitters stayed and waited.
Compared to an on-again, off-again relationship with Mr. Washie and wrangling three daughters through adolescence in a major city, a roomful of knitters waiting to laugh and talk knitting must be a treat despite the occasional bad flight, way too little sleep, no edible food, tubless hotel rooms, spiders in the night, O'Hare, and frantic logistics. Well, at least while you're there in the room it must seem like a treat.
I hope. She's much too nice a person for me to feel OK that I put her through all that if she didn't get something out of it, too -- besides just the author-required-to-tour-and-sell-books stuff.
Stephanie spoke of CHOKE, Cultural Humiliation of Knitters Everywhere, and some of the more memorable instances when she came up against it. Most of the examples she shared involved total and satisfying vindication on her behalf. We all enjoyed the vicarious triumphs.
Then Karen, Ann, and I filed back to the bookstore signing area to line up near the front of the crowd (400 to 500 knitters) with our precious Group A signing tickets. As usual, Stephanie took the time to chat with each person, admiring or giving advice on projects they brought and thanking them for coming.
We came bearing gifts. In lieu of wedding shower gifts, Karen had asked for donations to Doctors Without Borders, plus included proceeds from the silent auction of a Philosopher's Yarn sweater kit. During her talk Stephanie spoke about her Knitters Without Borders drive and how much it has raised - over $370,000 and counting - so we felt especially jazzed as we presented her with our symbolic check for the $1350 we collected. She rewarded us with an obviously deep felt thank you.
For reference, I'm the tall one of this group at 5'7".
Still, she might have been even more enthusiastic about our other gift. I completely understand the trials of airport food as I don't eat meat and am allergic to milk. Most airports offer nothing beyond the traditional American junk food diet. Sometimes I can't even find my personal fast food meal of a soy milk latte. As Stephanie said, "Could you occasionally do something without bacon on it, guys?"
I brought her a gallon zip lock bag of airport food, including some 'organic snack food' from a Seattle company. In the realm of healthy food, it won't rank high up the scale, but beats almost anything found even in Sea-Tac with its sparkling new food court.
I also included a couple packets of baby carrots. Have to keep our Harlot healthy for the next group. They deserve as good a night as we had.