I thought that was a good idea and had a mini-tour planned for the upper Midwest that year. I made arrangements to speak at the senior center where my mother lived, as well as the nursing home where my mother-in-law lived.
The talk at the senior center went well. About 20 folks who had gathered in the community room for lunch all stayed to meet Evelyn's daughter who had written a book.
Two days later I was scheduled to talk at the nursing home. When I had called to see if this was something the residents would enjoy, the activities director had assured me that there were lots of avid readers among the residents and they would love to meet an author. I was scheduled to follow the late-afternoon Bingo game when folks would already be assembled and willing to stay since dinner would immediately follow the talk.
I knew I was starting to lose them when a gentleman sitting up front asked if I was ever going to get the glass of water he’d asked for an hour ago. Then three women got up and left, muttering loudly that they must be in the wrong place since dinner wasn’t coming yet and it was past time.
In an effort to salvage something – anything – I abandoned my prepared speech and tried to engage the rest of the audience on a more personal level. I asked if they liked to read. One woman said she couldn’t read but she liked to sing. I told her that was nice, and she asked if I’d like to hear something. Before I could respond, she launched into a lusty version of You Are My Sunshine.
The other residents cheered when she was finished, so I took the hint. We spent the rest of the hour in a sing-along.
Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Her latest book is Open Season, which has gotten rave reviews from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. When she is not working, Maryann loves to play "farmer" on her little ranch in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas.