Ok, chatting with Stephen King was pretty cool. His author presentation opening the Wordplay Book Festival in Minneapolis — of which my amazing daughter-in-law is the founding director — was super funny, smart, and humane. King’s fan base and reputation as the second wealthiest author on the planet is astonishing (after J.K. Rowling, last I looked). But he’s an ordinary guy.
Having owned the Oz Children’s Bookstore in Southwest Harbor, Maine, for fifteen years, I had met King before. When I told him Friday night that my son was born in Ellsworth, and had been driving the RBR around Minneapolis for the past two days, he said, “Let’s go see this Mainer.”
I took meticulous notes at King’s Saturday morning talk, quotes and all, on my iPhone. Somehow I deleted them. What I remember most: King believes his writing can dispel anxieties, especially when it crosses over to the supernatural. It’s so subtle the reader may not recognize the transformation, but sure, it serves as an escape from the unease of real life. Guess the reader worries so much about the horror she’s immersed in, small worries disappear.
In a way, I’m glad I deleted my notes/quotes. This morning I met three more ordinary people, who haven’t amassed a fraction of King’s notoriety, but each contributed to my faith in humans.
First Conrad the Lyft driver : He picked me up at my Minneapolis hotel. We talked about Judaism, Conrad being super religious and me being super secular. Upon our arrival at the airport Conrad handed me a dollar bill, telling me it would be good luck for my trip. Also, he said, “You must do a mitzvah,” or help someone I meet, which I’ll be more than happy to do.
At the Minneapolis airport: Amanda, a beautiful young American woman, who works in the coffee industry, and lives in Lima, Peru, told me, “You must go to Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina in Florence! It’s to die for!” She encouraged me to travel more.
And what about the calm, efficient woman who waited on us at the French Meadow cafe for breakfast? She took care of every diner’s requests with a smile. I told her she was fantastic. Inspiring, really.
The waitperson, the business woman, the Lyft driver, and Stephen King encouraged me to rock on…Now I’m waiting for American Airlines to get our plane going to Philadelphia, from where I’ll board my flight to France.
Oh, and did I say that a really nice American Airlines employee helped me check in my suitcase, which I’m happy I did.
We made it. Packing up in our tiny Ibis Budget hotel room in Bordeaux, we’re heading to the Dordogne countryside. Onward for Claire & Sheila’s Excellent Adventure!!!