My recovery time is getting very sluggish.
It was GamesDay last weekend. We had a lovely time.
The husband and I drove up to Leicester for lunch with the daughter, and then out to Birmingham. We had dinner with the guys on Saturday night, and then got up on Sunday morning and worked the signing table all day... Well, the husband worked the signing table all day.
He sat behind his table with the Abnett Maze (or, as I call it, Dan’s Labyrinth) in front of him as, one at a time, or, sometimes, in two and threes, fans came up to shake his hand, get a photo and have a book or books signed. He had a cheery word or two for each of them, answered a question here or there: about a book or character, about new projects, about writing or even, once or twice, about himself. He handed out badges, stood for photos, smiled and generally joined in. The queue never diminished much, and when it did it was only because someone put a ‘closed’ sign on the end of it, so that we could find some time for lunch.
We took half an hour for lunch and ate baps out of a paper carrier bag in the canteen with the staffers, which is always nice. Then it was back to work, back to signing in the afternoon.
I don’t know how he does it, except, of course, that I watch him do it, and, except of course that I see the guys who stand in the queues; I see the men and women and boys and girls who read the books and become engrossed in the stories that the husband tells. I see how much they admire what he does, and I see how much some of them idolise him. How could he fail to enjoy their company? They are, to a man and woman, sweet, gentle, polite, engaged people, who simply want to meet the author, and meet him they shall.
The only job I have, I suppose, is the one that I invent for myself at these things.
Not for nothing, I began my working life in advertising and marketing, and when I turned up at the signing tables I saw several piles of handbills advertising the Black Library Weekender coming up in the first weekend of November in Nottingham; the husband and I will be there. Once the husband was happily ensconced with his sharpie, I took a pile of the handbills and began working my way through Dan’s Labyrinth chatting with the waiting fans, talking to them about the event and handing out the fliers.
It wasn’t work. It was fun. I met some cool people. I laughed a lot. Some of us invented the concept of ‘Abnett Maze Industries’ whereby, in future years, fans caught in the maze will be invited to bring with them objects of their own special manufacture; things like jam and jam cosies. I marveled at the cleverness and foresight of the man who had brought a shooting stick so that he would have a seat and could wait in comfort, but was astonished he wasn’t renting it out. I was thrilled by the blitz spirit of the mums and dads stuck in the maze for upwards of two hours; some of them even resorted to talking to each other and reading their kids’ books!
But it’s hard work, all this... Such hard work that we bedded down in Birmingham on Sunday night and drove home through all that rain on Monday morning. I did manage to thrust my head above the parapet on Tuesday, but I have no idea where Wednesday got to. I do hope you’ll forgive my erratic behaviour; I’m here now, and I plan to stay for a while... well for today, and perhaps tomorrow, and after that, we’ll just have to wait and see.