My reading in Mendocino was great. I was at work at 7 AM, off by Noon and in Mendo in time for my reading at 6:00. When I arrived, Margaret Fox and the folks from Harvest Market had not only set up cheese, they had set up cheese that I recommended in my book, with little quotes by me in from of the grazing piles. I was embarrassed/flattered.
I don’t know much about Mendocino beyond what I have seen on vacations and my regular reading of the The Anderson Valley Advertiser* so I was a touch worried about the fact that I knew that the independent, local grocery was co-sponsoring the event but that Mendo has a collective grocery spitting distance from the book store. Would there be tension? Would I just be ignored by the collective folks? Had I sold out already without knowing it?
Nah. Almost the first person I saw was a guy from Corners of the Mouth that I met a decade ago at a co-ops and collectives tour of Redwood Hill Farm. In fact, he had just had surgery on his leg but made it to the reading anyway. Awwwww.
My crappy photo of the Gallery Bookshop. I really need a new camera…**
It was so nice to have someone else set up the cheese for an event. In most of my future events I will be lugging a cooler of cheese and doing the set up myself (I actually totally gouged my finger right before my Reading Frenzy event. But I didn’t bleed on the cheese!) so I owe the Harvest folks a big thanks.
It was the first event I had where (except for the one collective grocer) I didn’t know anyone who would be there or if anyone would come at all. But of course, the cheese pulled people in and we got a pretty big crowd, especially since there was a competing book event down the street! My favorite moment was when asked about political issues with dairy, I said that, imo the most political thing was keeping small farmers in the dairy business and that – because of the financial differences between selling dairy as commodity fluid milk price and selling cheese at a price that reflects the cost of production — the resurgence in regional American cheese making could help accomplish this. I hadn’t read anyone in the crowd as being involved in commercial dairy, but at the end of the reading someone came up and said he came from a dairy family and appreciated that I had talked about how hard it is to make a living dairy farming.
By the end I was talking to the Harvest folks about shelf tags and cheese conferences. Then I went to the room they had provided for me and watched “Footloose” until I fell asleep. Mendo was good.
*At one point someone (can’t remember who) told me that the AVA would “cover” my reading but no one there identified themselves. That’s a bummer because I would have asked ‘em to come if I knew they needed encouragement. What I love about the AVA is that the idea of them reviewing my book or reading scares me a bit. That means that they are a real newspaper.
**Ha! If I saw their webcam before I would have alerted you so you could have watched my car for the entire two hour event. That’s where I parked.