Today was my first official book reading.
I had the joy last week of reading to a youth group - a favor to some friends to tell about God's role in making this book happen - and ended up making a teenage girl cry when I surprised her with a hidden Rojo after my reading. Now I kind of want a shirt that says "I make kids cry." But that's a different story.
Today was my first actual reading. As I sat waiting for kiddos and their parents to take their seats, I had a little girl in the front row raise her hand to ask a question: giddy with excitement! What was funny was that she wasn't raising her had to ask about the 400 lb llama not-so-hidden behind the stage curtain, but instead to ask if I was going to read my book. I cannot tell you how surreal that felt. To have stolen Rojo's excitement with my book was beyond amazing to me. Probably not stolen, because maybe Rojo was hidden afterall, but even having my storytime added to his presence was pretty incredible .
As I sat waiting to start, I almost wanted to cry - and to my surprise, I wasnt nervous at all. Well, I actually just wanted my part to be over with so everyone could see who they came to see. But to see all of the smiling faces was so encouraging - like I've actually made something worth hearing.
An applause came over the crowd as I finished the final page. "Yes! I got through the book," I thought to myself, "but now what?!" I gave a little explaination to solidify how true the story was, and if I know kids AT ALL, I know they are full of fun questions everyone is dying to ask. So I did a little Q&A before introducing the Big Guy.
Once I was ready for the big reveal, I turned around and started to bring Rojo out to the center of the stage. A unanimous "WHOA" came over the crowd. Great, now everyone wants to pet him, where do you start.... meh, I'll just start passing out carrots... let the chaos begin!
Mom was on stage, our amazing volunteer, Adriann, was handing out cardsand helping create a line and to my suprise, it eventually became quite organized! I got to step aside and sign a couple books. One mom bought a book for each of her daughters because she saw the unique opportunity set before her. A father had me sign a book for his son who immediately turned to ask his father to re-read the book to him.
No longer do I believe that I have actually written this book. To think that something I have created is in peoples lives... it is incredibly surreal. It's different than hanging out with Rojo. With Rojo I just hold the leadrope to keep him from eating anything green around him - and because he can't drive himself. This is different. This is incredibly personal and very overwhelming.
So what's in store for this new opportunity?!
Well, I sent a book to Powells - as is their protocol to have them consider having my book in their store. I went around Portland last week letting local childrens bookstores know its available. Two have set up storytimes which I will hopefully have my head together to record Rojo's reveal during.
Now to send one to Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, some Seahawks... and see if I can get this book some attention. If I want to keep staying 100% helping my mom with the therapy work we do, I need this to be a wild success. My motivation is high.
Cheers to the unknown, the excitement of the journey, and to those few dedicated enough to read these posts. Hopefully these posts will become more and more frequent, full exciting stories and good news!