I’ve never really collected anything. I’ve always wanted to, but I just couldn’t seem to commit to any one item.
I like a lot of things. I’ll never forget the time my mom suggested I collect souvenir spoons. You know, those little bitty ones that have tiny pictures or engravings on them. I think I have one, which is possibly more useless than a whole collection of them.
Anyway, I never could decide “what” to collect. And maybe I was forcing the issue because like so many other things in life, once I quit thinking about it, a collection naturally developed.
It’s still small. Nothing to brag about. But special to me, nonetheless. It’s a collection of signed books. I don’t really seek them out. They’ve just happened.
My most recent addition is a signed copy of “Her Mother’s Hope,” by Francine Rivers, which I just got last week. (Thank you SO much, Andrea!) Rivers had a book signing in Dallas and Southlake last Friday, and since I couldn’t go, my friend picked up this book for me.
I’ve never actually been to a book signing. All of my signed books have come from writing conferences. Authors come to these events and share their wisdom about writing and getting published and afterward they sell and sign books. I didn’t make it sound very exciting, but it really is great fun.
I usually go with “book money,” which is never enough to buy everything I want, so I have to pick and choose. Sometimes I choose based on what books sound interesting, but I often choose books based on which author I would like to talk to for a few extra minutes. They are always surprisingly generous.
My most treasured signature is that of Elmer Kelton. He died in August of 2009, but I heard him speak and had the honor of meeting him and his wife in October 2007. We sat a picnic table and chatted for a few minutes while he signed “The Time It Never Rained.” It was like talking to my grandparents. Although he is nationally known for his contributions to western literature, I’ve never met someone so humble.
I also have “An Epic Life: Willie Nelson” signed by Joe Nick Patoski, whose work I first admired in Texas Monthly, “The Dog of My Nightmares,” signed by Dave Leiber and “Potter Springs” signed by Britta Coleman, fellow Aggie and one of those people that you just know would be your best friend, if only you actually hung out together.
I also have a signed copy of “Endings” by Barbara Bergin, and I’m waiting to receive a signed bookplate from Kate Jacobs for my copy of “Friday Night Knitting Club.” This was a book club selection, and Jacobs actually called into our meeting and chatted with us. The FNKC is not one of my favorite books, but a signed bookplate will make it bookshelf worthy.
My kids even got their first signed books a couple of weeks ago when author Peggy Sundberg, a.k.a. Cowgirl Peg, visited Rann Elementary in Decatur. I was thrilled my son would have the opportunity to hear an author speak, and he and his little sister were also remarkably excited about their books.
Now they’ve got the start to a collection, too.