Yesterday was the second annual Morehead, KY Pride Festival. I’d met the organizer, David Ermold*, three weeks earlier at Louisville Pride, and he was enthusiastic about having my booth at his event. I hadn’t been sure about making the trek before then, but I signed up.
I sold one book. It was late in the day, an hour before the close of the festival and an hour after organizers said vendors could leave early if they wanted. Two hours earlier a few of them had, because three hours earlier a sudden wind had blown the canopies around and caused havoc. Two booths from mine the wind knocked over a wall of shelving holding art pieces, which landed on one of the jewelry vendors beside me. Glass shattered. My canopy slid five feet; thankfully passersby helped me grab hold of it. My sign board was toppled. It happened two more times, pushed over by lesser winds, before I put it back in its case. I returned all but four books and all the décor to boxes, packed up my smaller table, and lashed everything to the canopy legs using bungee cords and rope. (I’d forgotten my canopy weights, which weren’t with the rest of my stuff since I did not need them for Louisville Pride. I didn’t see anyone else with weights either.) A woman later recounted being in the midst of getting a henna tattoo when the wind kicked up. She said that tent had been knocked over.
A guy who’d been really interested in the books before the wind event returned and rushed over, excited because he thought I’d sold everything. For four of six and a half hours I contemplated leaving. Though it was a nice event with friendly people who all seemed to be having a good time, I wondered how much sense it made to be there if my brand new commercial grade canopy was in danger of getting trashed, and my display been reduced to just four books. I was a bit skittish, too, jumping up and grabbing the canopy every time a breeze blew.
But at 3:30 a young guy (Seventeen? Eighteen? Nineteen?), accompanied by his mom, listened to my pitch. She said to him, “You like to read.” He said, “I love to read.” He handed me twenty dollars. I didn’t know which book he wanted; he wanted mine. He asked me to sign it, and said he’ll review it.
Organizers said they got positive feedback about having my booth there. People liked having the option to buy books. Making the rounds at 4pm to thank everyone for being there, David Moore expressed a desire for me to return next year, and I said I would like that.
At Kentuckiana Pride I sold ten copies of my book. At Louisville Pride I sold twelve. Driving home from Morehead, though, I felt really great. Exhausted, dehydrated, frazzled, and great. I wondered if the young man who bought my book will read it and what he’ll think of it. I wondered if he’ll recall it years into the future, as I recall books I stumbled upon when I was his age. I wonder if he’ll become a regular customer of lethebooks.com.
Anyone who thinks that driving four hours round trip to sell one book to one young man doesn’t make sense is using the wrong unit of measurement.
*Correction: I realized I was confusing the surnames of David Ermold and his husband, David Moore when the former decided to run for county clerk against Kim Davis, the woman who refused to issue the couple a marriage license.