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Top 10 Sound Bites from Jamie Ford Day (AKA: Woodland Reads)

April 11, 2011

Last Thursday my hometown celebrated Jamie Ford Day. Honestly. The City Council proclaimed it!

Poor Jamie crisscrossed Woodland several times speaking at our kick-off  Luncheon, a High School (of course, the one farthest away from the lunch venue) our local Community College (you guessed it—back across town again), and our local treasure—the oldest operating Carnegie library in California—Woodland Public Library. He spoke with almost 300 readers—and signed almost as many books (man, his hand must’ve been cramped.) But he gained hundreds of new fans with his approachable nature, humorous style, and wonderful little love story of a historical novel. And although he spoke with no notes in front of him—something tells me he’s done this a couple of times before—he delivered some great one-liners.

Here is my arbitrary Top 10 list:

10. ”Knock, Knock, Knock—‘Room Service!’ can be heard on my first NPR interview with Scott Simon.” (Instead of going into a fancy studio, as Jamie expected, he conducted his side of the interview on his cell phone, holed up in a Holiday Inn.”

9. “My all-consuming affinity for love stories was first discovered as a young teen, by watching the afterschool made-for-TV movie, ‘James at 15’. Later, when I began writing the short story Hotel is based on, I was ’James at 40’.”

8. “Writing fiction is like being given a box of a thousand crayons—and you have to pick and choose which ones you want to use.”

7. “I met my wife at the library—and not even on ‘singles night’ or ‘wet T-shirt night’. One year later I proposed at an independent book store.” (This one statement shows what genius and foresight the man has—in one phrase he is able to endear himself to two distinct literary audiences…)

6. “The story of Henry and Keiko was inspired by my grandfather, who at age 88, took off to New York City and ‘shacked up’ with an old girlfriend from 60 years earlier—thus pushing the reset button on his heart.” (Yes, the audience appropriately responded, “awwwww”…)

5. “I encountered my ‘First Love’ when I was 15, and after my first kiss, I went to work—a busboy at a seafood restaurant—and by the smile on my face, the wait staff assumed I’d lost my virginity.” (He went on to tell the story of a recent Community Read when right after telling this story, he looked up to find this same former-15-year-old-girl sitting on the front row… and, no, I only wish it were me…)

4. “When you sell your book for movie rights, it’s like selling your baby to the circus—you never know if your baby will be center stage in a sparkly tutu skillfully bareback riding—or off in the side carnie with the fire-eating dragons and the bearded lady…”

3. “It would really help Dudes if they could learn to embrace love stories a bit more. To illustrate this, I told my teenage son, the musician, that if he played more John Mayer and less Megadeth, he’d greatly increase his batting average with the ladies. After learning a few Mayer songs on his acoustic guitar, he now has a prom date.”

2. “I’ve learned that the correct answer to ‘Did you have a Keiko in your own life?’ is ‘Yes, and I married her.’ I got that wrong once—and that was a really long weekend…”

1. “My novel has taken on a career of its own—and I’m just along for the ride.” (He gives credit to Pamela Anderson who made the exact same claim about her boobs…)

In addition to the delightful Jamie Ford, Woodland Reads boasted another special guest—Mae Yanagi—the adorable little girl who coyly smiles up at us from the frontispiece photograph of the book. She was 7 ½  in 1942 when photojournalist Dorothea Lange took that picture as her family awaits evacuation in Hayward, CA. Her mother (directly behind her in the photograph) was pregnant at the time, and gave birth two weeks later. Mae signed books with Jamie for about an hour. What a treat for all of us!

Thanks to Jamie, Mae, and the whole Woodland Reads 2011 team for a very Happy Jamie Ford Day!



2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 12:45 pm

    What a great post. I wish I’d been there. Sounds like such fun. Jamie’s an amazing guy. Wish we could clone him!

    • April 11, 2011 4:16 pm

      Kathryn: we were very lucky indeed to be able to host him for our One City, One Book program. As you have experienced. he charmed everyone young and old! Cheers! MTE

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