But my café presence attracted the curiosity of two fellows.
The first, a writer himself, expressed surprise I was permitted to sell books there. He was a writer himself, with a Columbia “J” School degree and by-lines in solid magazines. He has published a first novel – about Jews, Germany, the Holocaust, millenials, and identity, if I recall correctly – through a small, indie house in Brooklyn that usually does poetry and has pretty much left promotion to him. He had scheduled a couple non-book store readings (and accepted my offer to do one in our Vanne Bistro series). I also offered to swap books with him – but that was taken under submission.
The second fellow was not surprised and, in fact, remarked that I was be carrying on a vanished tradition of Berkeley authors selling their books in cafes. I said I was unaware of this tradition, though I recalled an emigre from North Africa selling his memoir outside Vine Street Peet’s. He mentioned Julia Vinograd, a poet who had recently died, at 75, from cancer. Vinograd was a notable presence, once honored as Berkeley’s poet laureate, a position seemingly created for her. In 50 years, she had published 50 books and sold 150,000 copies (six a week), mostly by hand, walking the streets in full-length black coat and black-and-yellow cap, while blowing soap bubbles. “Maybe I should add bubbles to my act,” I said.
In other news…
“I Will Keep You Alive” has arrived from the printer’s.
I rarely read anything I’ve written once it appears in print, since I know I will fixate on things I would chance, and the excitement here is further tempered by our being restrained from selling (or giving away) copies until the official release date (April 1). How can we be praised if our book can not be read? Why write a book if you can not be praised?
Delayed gratification is such a drag.