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June 21, 2011

An Evening at John's Place

I was going to post this as a Random Shot of Beauty a couple of weeks ago, except for the fact that I felt nearly overcome with dread while taking it:

The National Steinbeck Center in downtown Salinas, where my friend Mike and I were scheduled for a “Meet the Authors” presentation for our Running Life book on a recent Friday evening. We were invited to talk a little bit about our book, read a few excerpts, and explain how the natural beauty of Monterey County helps inspire both our running and our writing.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m much more comfortable as a writer than as a promoter, and this night was no exception. Of course, I might not have felt nearly so self-conscious if we hadn’t been speaking just below the brooding visage of Steinbeck himself, looming over us as if waiting to pass judgment. You know … no pressure or anything.

Our warm up act – I swear I’m not making this up - was a class of mariachi guitarists. It was one of those “Only in Salinas” scenes, and helped to lighten the atmosphere a bit before Mike and I took the stage.

It wasn't competely empty ... it just seemed that way sometimes.

Attendance for our presentation was less than what we hoped for; check that – it was WAY less - although I guess if you count the mariachi players you could say we had a decent showing. However, for as anxious as I was beforehand, once we started talking about the book and running, the whole experience was actually more enjoyable than I had anticipated.

I presented a slideshow of images - most of them taken directly from this website – called “Running in Steinbeck Country.” As I began to describe the timeless beauty of this area, the stories that took place here long before my arrival, and the appreciation I have both for this land and the people who occupy it, I settled into something approaching comfort. (Although considering the circumstances, that’s still a pretty strong word; perhaps “I no longer wanted to crawl under the table” is more accurate.)

Obviously the two of us don’t measure up to Steinbeck any more than we do to Olympic-caliber runners – however, in both cases, lack of world-class talent doesn’t diminish our enjoyment of either activity. I enjoy writing, I love running, and as long as I can continue to do both of them in some form or another, I’ll consider it one of life’s greatest blessings.

*The Running Life is now available for $16 from our dedicated book webpage.

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Anne 6/22/11, 2:52 PM  

Welcome to the life of an author. Even the best of them sometimes have trouble drawing a crowd, even ones initially entertained by a mariachi band. Remember, it's not quantity but quality and it sounds like you delivered.

Richard Averett 6/22/11, 5:07 PM  

I must have missed the press release about your presentation - could have brought my guitar, book and running shoes, so everyone could feel good about themselves.
You're right: passion for your work and play makes everything enjoyable, even talking about it.

IronMin 6/22/11, 7:48 PM  

I am so happy for you...a book, wow. Congratulations! I can't wait to read it. You are an inspiration!

Cherylrunner 6/23/11, 1:39 PM  

Great job, Donald! Even if just a few people hear about your book that is a few more that your writing may make a difference with! Don't stop sharing your passion for running! We count on you!

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