Edward Hancock II
The Imperfect Blog
|Posted by EHancock2 on July 17, 2012 at 5:25 PM|
I'm going to be honest. I have started this blog a thousand times over the last several days. Since Sunday morning, I have labored tirelessly to try and organize my thoughts into some sort of story that would magically capture the feeling inside me. Alas, I cant. I, the published writer with countless book signings behind me and thousands of miles logged, can not put into words the very simple events that transpired this past weekend.
There were five of us in all. Myself, Lynn Hobbs, Patty Wiseman, Bobbie Shafer and Janice Ernest. We had gathered at McAlister's Deli in Longview, Texas for a book signing party with the fans. Honestly, I had mixed feelings about it. Book signings are hit and miss. Sometimes you have a huge turnout. Sometimes, you don't. That is, of course, if you're the average writer like me. If you're Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz or a celebrity like Mike Huckabee or Paula Deen, you can pretty much bank on having a big turnout. As I am none of them, my reality is I never know what to expect.
Saturday, July 14, 2012 was no exception. For once, I actually arrived before the others. Despite being notoriously early, I have learned that I am apparently not as notorious about it as others. With this group, I am quite often the last one to arrive. Not to get off track, but this fact actually pleases me. It is a new feeling.
When I arrived, McAlister's was full. And why wouldn't they be? I arrived at 1:00 p.m. A full hour ahead of the signing and smack dab in the middle of the lunch rush! I was relieved to find a seat in the patio area where I was about half way through my food when Bobbie and Janice arrived. Patty and Lynn arrived not long after. Again, this was quite backwards for our day, as they are generally the first to show up. Another fact that pleased me.
Soon, it was time for the book signing. I had received a text, as I was setting out my stuff, that my friend, Julie, was on her way. This set the stage for an awesome day, as Julie and my other friend, Jennifer, are notoriously good luck for me. It is a fact that I've never had a bad signing when one or both of them were there. It is further fact that I have had my best book signings when both of them were there.
Even though Jennifer could not make it to this one, I have to say that what transpired ranks this book signing as one of the top, if not THE top signing I've ever had.
As a writer, you always have a special place in your heart for the first signing you do. When you publish a second book, you have a special place for the first you promoting that one as well. You have a special place for each one, but some just stand out. Without a doubt, this book signing will forever stand out. If I live to publish 100 books, this book signing is one I will always remember as the moment I came face to face with greatness.
Now, you have to understand, I have met many celebrities. I've met Neal McCoy in the post office once. I am distantly related to the late John Ritter. I've met several astronauts and writers -- some of which you may know or may not. I've also had the honor of being in the presence of countless members of our law enforcement and armed forces. Army corporals. Navy Seamen. An Air Force Master Sergeant. Each time, I am humbled. Honored.
When my high school friend, Carie Roy, walked in with her husband, Mark. I had no idea who I'd just met. He was just some nice guy who'd married my friend and looked like John Cena's big brother.
As he talked about his son's flourishing wrestling career, I saw a pride that, sadly, is rare among fathers these days. He is proud of his son. He is, as it turned out, involved in wrestling himself. If that was all I had learned about Mark Roy, it would have been enough for me. Had I not sold a single book that day, I could have gone away knowing that I'd met a real man. But that wasn't all he said. As we continued to chat, he spoke of his time in Iraq. Yes, Mark Roy, was a member of the United States Marines and served our country proudly for several years. As he told story after story about this attack and that maneuver and this unit and that squad, (I'm reluctant to reveal too many private details, lest I compromise our military.) I can't even describe how I felt. It was pride. It was a sort of gleeful envy. A child's curiosity mixed with the honor of knowing that I was in the presence of a true hero. But, honestly, he's not a hero. He'd probably not want me to say this, but the word "hero" isn't big enough for Mark Roy.
To be sure, Lt. Col. Mark Roy of the United States Marines is something of a living legend. (He's also the higest ranking member of the U.S. military I've ever met.) But he's more than that. He's a living LESSON. He's a lesson on what it is to be a true man. Yes, he's a hero. When others are running away from the fire, he leads the charge toward it. Yes, he's powerful, patriotic, seemingly unassuming, gracious and humble. He loves his children and he dotes on his wife the way a man should.
And now you see my dilemma, don't you? Here I sat in attendance at a book signing where I was masquerading as some sort of celebrity because I've written a book about a fictional cop that solves fictional crimes. And standing before me was a giant among men who had lived stories I couldn't even conceive on my best day.
I was not jealous in the least. I don't mean to imply that. Quite the contrary. I was humbled. Honored. The photograph of me talking to Carie and Mark will exist on Facebook for as long as there IS a Facebook, I suppose. But the memory of that day is one I will cherish for as long as I have my wits about me. For once in my life, I can say I have truly put my writing career into perspective. I write about things I am physically unable to do from my wheelchair. Lt. Col. Mark Roy has gone out and stood guard at the gates of freedom, serving, protecting and defending you and me against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
I could not tell you how many books I sold that day. I honestly don't know. But, I spent the better part of an hour in the presence of greatness. For me, that's what matters.
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.