Monday, December 7, 2009

Sarah Palin and me: A maul and the night visitors

By Jim Heffernan

I’ve been going around signing copies of my book, “Cooler Near the Lake (Fifty-two Favorites From Thirty-Four Years of Deadlines),” that came out last year at this time.

It’s still in the stores, and I have a couple more signing dates next weekend, one in the Village Bookstore at the Mall of Grand Rapids, Minn., (not to be confused with the Mall of America), 2 to 4 p.m. next Saturday, Dec. 12, and a final session at Barnes and Noble in Duluth, 2 to 3 p.m. next Sunday, Dec. 14.

Then I can relax, fly back to the North Pole (not to be confused with the tavern on Raleigh Street in West Duluth) and glide through the rest of the Christmas season as though on a one-horse open sleigh, knowing I have done my duty to the reading public.

But having already completed book signings at Northern Lights Books in Duluth’s Canal Park, the Bookstore at Fitger’s in Duluth’s Fitger’s Brewery Complex and at the Blacklock Gallery in Moose Lake, sponsored by the Moose Lake Area Historical Society, I feel I should offer some sound advice to readers planning to attend my two remaining signings.

Be careful. It’s getting cold outside. If you are planning to arrive the previous night to secure a place in line outside the mauls…er…malls, bring warm clothes. Set up tents and include arctic sleeping bags in your gear. We don’t want anyone getting frostbite waiting for a signed copy of a book partially – but only partially – devoted to cold weather. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Once the multitudes are allowed inside the malls and line up before my signing table, be aware of the protocols associated with such occasions.

Just as fellow author Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, doesn’t mind if readers at her signings call her governor (people still call Jesse Ventura governor, after all), I don’t mind being addressed as “Mister” or “Sir” or “Your Excellency.” Still, “Jim” is fine. That’s my name, but don’t wear it out.

Perhaps you’ve heard Ms. Palin is traveling around signing copies of her book, “Going Rogue.” Just like me. She was at the Mall of America on Pearl Harbor Day. There might be irony there, I don’t know. The Moose Lake Historical Society was going to invite her to our signing session there, but there’s a big statue of a moose at the edge of town and they were afraid she’d shoot it.

“Cooler Near the Lake” sold pretty well last year for a book issued at the dawn of a period in our history that will forever be known as “The Great Recession,” and described by a fellow writer from England named Wm. Shakespeare as “…the winter of our discontent.” But there are a few left for this year – hence another round of book signings.

I always enjoy meeting members of the general public at these events, and hope to see you at one of them. Remember, though, don’t take chances lining up outdoors in the cold weather, and, oh what the heck, you can call me “wonderful counselor,” although I admit I am one of the few who never went to law school.

If you can’t make it to Grand Rapids or Duluth next weekend, the book’s available online, even if you are exploring the Amazon, if you catch my drift. (Shameless pandering, I know, but a guy’s gotta watch out for his ego.)

And thanks.

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