I looked on from a distance as Stephen King signed copy after copy of his latest work, 11/22/63: A Novel, during the book signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Sarasota last night. He popped what looked like a cough drop after about an hour of signing and a little later, it looked as though he was sucking on a lollipop.
“He’s wearing down,” the police officer whom I befriended said. He told me Mr. King had the flu and I immediately thought of The Stand. (I read in the Herald Tribune last night that indeed, Mr. King announced he had the flu and referenced The Stand.)
After last night I have greater respect for the King of Horror. He arrived about 30 minutes earlier than his 7 p.m. scheduled appearance, and he probably signed at least 1,000 books – that’s what a Barnes & Noble employee told me. In addition to books carried by lucky wristband holders, he signed copies that Barnes & Noble staff whisked away to the back storeroom. Hmm, were some employees going to make some money from eBay?
Back to respect…
lurked stayed in the bookstore until about 8:30 p.m., hoping Mr. King would stick around and sign copies for those of us unable to take off work and drive an hour for a wristband but after seeing him fading and knowing he was ill, I gave up.
I gave up out of respect for him. Stephen King was not feeling well last night but he kept his commitment to fans by showing up and signing book after book. There was some chitchatting, posing for photos and every now and then he cracked a smile.
The flu didn’t stop Stephen King from marching on for his fans. I’ve had to work when I wasn’t feeling well so I know it’s a miserable thing to do. I didn’t have a wristband and didn’t want to keep him away from his much needed rest.
I’ve had my Stephen King moment(s) so leaving without a signed book was okay with me.
Note about the top photo: Although not the best quality, I love the photo because of the “humor” sign in the foreground and Stephen King in the background. He has a delicious and sometimes dark sense of humor which is why I’m tickled by this image.