“Poppa, let’s play our trumpets!”
Almost twenty years ago, I was a hard worker at a bookstore that no longer exists. While tidying and alphabetizing the shelves one night, I noticed a sneaky character scribbling in our books. As I approached him, I recognized him. He was one of my favorite authors, and he was surreptitiously signing all of his own books. I let him continue of course, but I introduced myself. He confessed that he was in town for a signing at a bigger bookstore down the street, but he was signing our books also because… if I remember correctly… he liked our store better. We talked for at least five minutes about his short stories and his comic books. He was friendly and generous with his time. I enjoyed every word. Then my friend, Emily, noticed us and ran to join our conversation. “Rama!” She exclaimed, “You’re talking to NEIL GAIMAN!” I knew it of course, but her enthusiasm sent me into another state of mind. I was suddenly tongue-tied and starstruck. He excused himself as efficiently as he’d arrived. My fondness for him endures.