December 14, 1998 - Newsletter #6

By Joe Burns

G O O D I E S T O G O ! (tm)
December 14, 1998 - Newsletter #6
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This is the Goodies To Go Newsletter #6!

I'll attempt to be as witty as possible on four hours of sleep. I'm tired, but it's a good kind of tired. The past few days have been amazing. Yesterday I was in The Big Apple at my first book signing...ever.

It's both an eerie and wonderful feeling sitting behind a desk 20 minutes before a book signing. You're surrounded by people who went to the mat to get it published. There's a pile of books with your face on them sitting there in front of you. The surroundings are strange. You can't stop twiddling with the pen your wife gave you for the occasion. You're sure you'll say something stupid to the first person who comes in the door.

And the New York City chapter of Hell's Angels meets right across the street. Really. I could have tripped and landed right on one of the bikes. Then one would have fallen into the other, into the other, into the other, etc., just like in the movies.

But none of that happened. The book signing was a success and a bunch of fun. Plus I got the experience of driving myself around New York City dodging cabbies who think your car might look a little better with some bright yellow paint scraped along the side.

Here's the thing. If and when you get your own book published just wait until you're faced with a blank page. A great young man named Niki was the first to stop by. He pulled the book out his book bag and laid it there in front of me. I opened my new pen, turned to the banner page, and asked him his name. He told me and I wrote it down with a fancy line afterward.

Then...nothing. I went totally blank. I swear. I actually looked at this person and asked "What do you want me to write?"

He looked back at me with a downturned eyebrow and said, "Whatever you want."

Smart kid. What did I expect? Did I think this person was going to dictate? So I mustered all of my massive brain power and wrote stunning prose that would have been worthy of the Magna Carte.

"Thanks for coming" (or words to that effect).

Ugh! "Thanks for coming?" Why didn't I just write that having a book was neat-o? Or "have a great summer!"

Oh, well. That's a look into the book-signing mind. Niki, thanks for coming. Honestly. You were the first person that took the time to trek into the East Village and ask for an autograph. That memory will be forever ingrained in my brain. I enjoyed looking at your web page. It's a great piece of work employing three seamless frames. And darned if there isn't a link to HTML Goodies right there for all to see. Thanks.

More people showed up. I calmed down a bit, and wrote a little more clever iambic pentameter. People told me they've been with Goodies from the beginning and that they learned everything they know from me. One woman told me that HTML Goodies is bookmarked on every computer on the campus of West Chester University (which is outside of Philly that was a long trip, huh?).

I hate to sound maudlin, but it's a phenomenal feeling when you know you've built up a few karma points by helping someone learn something new.

I didn't get back home from NYC until 2 AM and had to teach a class the next morning at 8:00 AM. But you know what? I can't stop smiling about the whole thing...

Next week I'll get back to the technical stuff. I just wanted to get this down on paper while it was still rolling around in my head. I'm even funnier when I'm rested.


And that wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next week...

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

"And remember...In Missouri, state legislators once approved a five-pound, 1012 page bill that was intended to, get this, reduce paperwork."

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