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I moved to the Nashville area in 2002 and started going to book signings at Davis-Kidd, an independent bookstore in Green Hills. I met Fannie Flagg, Sue Monk Kidd, David Sedaris and many other authors at that service-friendly store.
Driving up to the cozy store was always a pleasure. I loved driving my Jeep over the beautiful countryside, passing gorgeous homes, pastures with cows (which I just love) and then arriving in Green Hills, which is south of Nashville. By my sense of direction, anyway. The Bluebird Cafe was across the street and just a little bit before where the store used to be. Amazon, electronic book-readers and WalMart were too big a competition and Davis-Kidd tried to go bigger or go under. They went under.
So be it. My story is about the night I went to see Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code. I had no idea what the book was about or who he was. I just knew there was a book and an author and I wanted to be there. Bossman was out of town, so I took off and got to the famous grand staircase in D-K early. Readers used to sit on the staircase while the visiting author would stand at the bottom and speak. That evening I was the first person to take a seat. I thought, “Well, this guy can’t be too good. I’m the only one here.” Then people started to trickle up onto the stairs. “I’m just going to bump up a couple of steps.” I sat center-right almost to the top landing. It was filling in. Suddenly it was full with people going up both splits of the staircase to the second floor. “Hmmm…” I was surrounded. “So what did you think of the book wasn’t it wonderful I couldn’t put it down isn’t this exciting?” The guy next to me had too much caffeine. “Well, I didn’t read it,” I said as I looked around at people starting to fill in down the aisles of the store and surrounding the staircase. Mr. Starbucks was aghast at my ignorance and ignored me. The *Buzz* had gotten crazy. “What did you think?” “Wasn’t it amazing?” “I hope they make a movie out of it.” I felt goofy. I’m sure I was the only person in the city that hadn’t read this book. And the author was late. The nerve.
The store clerk set a podium at the bottom center of the stairs. **BUZZ** A nice looking man with a professor-style tweed sports coat with suede elbow pads, walked out and people applauded. “What the heck is this book all about,” I thought. He shyly introduced himself and was obviously overwhelmed. He held his cellphone up in the air. “I’m kinda in shock here. I just got off the phone with George Lucas.” ***BUZZ*** So he starts talking about the book and all the research he’d done at the Vatican and the crowd is hanging onto every word. I have to say it was pretty interesting. His wife is an art historian and he talked about how much she helped with the research. As he spoke he scanned the audience of about 150 people. At one point our eyes connected. And stuck. It was like a cartoon, where Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny get their eyes locked on each other and they try to break that lock by turning their heads, but it just doesn’t work. They’re stuck for what seems like forever but is only seconds. Dan’s head finally snapped away and I was left thinking “What the hell just happened there?” I shook my head to get my bearings.
At the end of the lecture, I stayed on the staircase while readers filed down to grab books and get in line to have them signed. I waited an hour until the end of the line was obvious. I picked up three books and awkwardly got behind the last five people. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say when I stepped in front of him. My brain was blank. My turn. I was the last one. Alone in front of Dan Brown sitting at a table with my three books in front of him. He looked up. I looked down. We didn’t say anything but stared. Finally he said, “Where do I know you from?” I said, “I know. What the hell was that all about?” Dan, “I don’t know.” Me, being the clever and astute girl said, “I have no idea. I’m sure we don’t run in the same circles. ” He shook his head still staring. I said, “Maybe we knew each other in another life.” He smiled and said, “Maybe that’s it.” We said a few other words and then he signed my book.
The End. (or is it?)