Preparing to launch Part 3 – guest blog by Rick James

Well, con­trary to Susan and Harold’s exper­i­ences with book signings, I actu­ally looked for­ward to my book launch of West Coast Wrecks & Other Maritime Tales with a good deal of con­fid­ence. Per­haps too much.

For one, I have no short­age of taste­ful, bet­ter qual­ity shirts in my closet. (Christmas presents over the years from Mom and also cour­tesy of Paula’s brother who man­ages the fash­ion­able out­door store, REI, in San Francisco). Plus I had just bought a new pair of black jeans. And since I don’t live in Merville like Harold, my fin­ger­nails stay reas­on­ably clean.

But I do make sure I get a haircut just before a presentation. Oth­er­wise, my unruly, white locks tend to make me look like a deranged Albert Einstein.

Also, I credit my abil­ity to stay relaxed before a group to the fact that I’ve given a fair amount of slide shows and present­a­tions over the years. And for some bizarre reason, I’ve become a more social animal as I age and actually enjoy standing up in front of a group. (This been a sur­prise to Paula who often reminds me that I used to be a quiet and retir­ing Fanny Bay recluse.)

Last fall I had my book launch at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. And, gad sakes! some 60+ people turned up and they were all out there in front of me!! Man, I was pumped and I think my publicist from Harbour Publishing was surprised too. Turns out she mis­judged the num­ber of people who would attend and hadn’t pur­chased enough pastry items; a dis­ap­point­ment for those late getting to the goodies table.

The PowerPoint presentation went over exceed­ingly well. A good indic­ation of suc­cess was the comments afterwards and question period that lasted for about 15 minutes. The worst thing that can hap­pen at the end of a presentation is that every­one sits there with a deadpan, bored expression on their faces.

So I was brim­ming with an over­whelm­ing sense of suc­cess and good­will as I made my way to the book sign­ing table where a crowd had already lined up. Then it happened; about seven signed cop­ies along.

As I looked up at this big, middle-aged, bald­ing guy with a pony tail I asked, “Who should I make it out to?” And he answers, “Rick James!” I did a double take and replied, “No, that’s me, the author, I mean, what’s your name?”

Rick back in the 1970s before he developed his published author persona.

“Rick James!” he declared again. “Don’t you remem­ber me from the old days in Victoria? How could ya for­get, I mean, we not only have the same name…” And con­tin­ues in an overly loud voice, “Oh man! We even used to smoke dope together at Keith’s place on Burdett back in the early 70s!”

Thankfully most of the folks around the table were old friends or work col­leagues who were probably already aware of my past. Still, I could tell some people were startled. You know, the strangers I had man­aged to con­vince over the past hour that I should be looked upon as a respect­able West Coast mari­time his­tor­ian and writer. Who knows what they thought after the other Rick James finished talking?

So there you go, no matter how well prepared – and groomed – a person is for a book signing, some­thing totally unexpected can still bring you to back to reality with a jolt.

This entry was posted in Guest blogs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Preparing to launch Part 3 – guest blog by Rick James

  1. Kim Tracey says:

    I would not have recognized you. Our past does catch up to us sometimes!

  2. Kim Stubblefield says:

    Wow Rick, now you have let the cat out of the bag. I like your picture from the ’70s.

    I must read this book of yours about the sea….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *