I’m Dreaming of a Book Festival

We’re in Savannah, Georgia, for this weekend’s Savannah Book Festival. It’s not an actual book tour—sort of a mini one—but enough so that we don’t always remember the right room number when it comes time to assign restaurant receipts to our room. Hey, after a while, all those room numbers start to sound the same.

We’re traveling; sleeping in strange beds; operating on different time zones, so it’s no wonder that my sleep might be filled with odd dreams—including one about being at a book festival.

In the dream, who should show up as a fellow author but Carol Burnett. I know she wrote at least one book about losing her daughter. She may have written more, but in my dream she showed up at this unnamed book festival with cartons and cartons of her newest children’s book. In my dream, I had an important message to give her, and I did.

My memories about Carol Burnett begin with one of her earliest national appearances—the one on Ed Sullivan’s “really big shew!”—where she sang “I’m In Love With John Foster Dulles.” At the time I was a teenager, and to me John Foster Dulles looked entirely unloveable. As far as his family was concerned, I’m sure that wasn’t the case, but from my point of view, the song was hilarious.

For years I watched Carol Burnett on the Garry Moore Show. I saw the televised production with her as the princess in Once Upon A Mattress, and loved all those seasons of the Carol Burnett Show. Of course my two favorite sketches are the one from Gone with the Wind and the one with Harvey Korman as the hapless patient to Tim Conway’s bumbling dentist. I can laugh out loud just thinking about that one.

Over the years, I noticed Carol’s ear-tugging greeting to her grandmother, the woman who raised her, and I loved the fact that she showed that connection during every appearance.

So yes, on the one hand, what I wanted to do in my dream meeting with Carol Burnett was to thank her for giving me years of comedic entertainment, but more than that, I wanted to thank her for the gift of that ear-tugging gesture.

Every book signing venue has the potential for having at least one nutcase in attendance, and once authors are seated at signing tables, they become natural targets. A notable exception to that was the Grand Reopening of the Smokey Point Safeway which had three nutcases rather than only one. The first was a guy who didn’t read anything but non-fiction. The second asked my opinion about another local mystery author. When I replied with a wavy hand motion that said not so much one way or another, he berated me by saying he would never read anything by someone who slammed the competition. Since when is a wavy hand motion slamming?

But then came the third guy. He waltzed up to the table and asked, “Are you the lady who writes mysteries?” When I said yes, he told me, “I’ve just been acquitted of murdering seven people. Do you want to write my book?”

The short answer to that, of course, was N-O!!! But he was there to chat. I told him I didn’t do non-fiction and maybe he should talk to Ann Rule. (By the way, Ann was not amused and she wasn’t interested, either. The guy really had done it, but he had gotten off on a technicality.)

Fortunately, Bill was there with me. He came up, engaged the guy in conversation, and eased him away from the table by asking focused questions. That was when Bill and I adopted Carol Burnett’s ear-tug as a signal. When I’m doing a signing, that’s a cry for help to whoever is minding Miss Daisy on the road. It’s a notification that whoever’s there at the table with me is a problem and needs to be encouraged to move along.

So that’s what I told Carol Burnett in my dream—thank you for that invaluable assistance. With any kind of luck, there won’t be any ear-tugging needed at the Savannah Book Festival.

People who have attended one of my speaking engagements may have heard this story before, but there’s a reason I’m writing about it today. There really are six-degrees of separation in this world. Maybe someone out there in my blog world knows someone who knows someone who knows Carol Burnett and can pass along my message to her.

If they do, that will make my book festival dreaming dream come true.

7 thoughts on “I’m Dreaming of a Book Festival

  1. What a great story. I’m glad you have a plan when someone not quite right shows up at a book signing. Carol Burnett is one of my favorites, too. I loved that Gone With the Wind scene where the curtain rod is across her shoulders in the gown made from them. I think the actors really had a hard time not to start laughing many times on that show.

    Hope you are enjoying the festival in Savannah. I’ve read that there are some great restaurants there.

  2. Loved your dream. I grew up loving this lady too. Here is another of her books: Burnett, Carol. This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection . Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

    Love your books too for many years.

  3. What a great story, I am so glad you have backup. In this day and age it is a must. I always wondered how you would handle the unusal fans an author could come across.
    In this household Carol Burnett us a favorite. We watch her old TV shows on UTube.
    Have a great week, see you next week…..Jan

  4. Maybe, just maybe, Carol Burnett reads your books….and your blog. Looking forward to seeing you in Mesa at the Red Mountain Library on March 20th.

  5. I live in Georgia about 3 hours from Savannah and I sure do wish I could have been at your book signing because I love your books and you can be a “hoot” so I would have loved being able to meet you!
    Your story about adopting Carol Brunett’s ear tugging made me think of what my husband used to do in the early days of our marriage when we would be visiting with our parents well anyone for that matter he would start twisting his wedding band around his finger so that was my hint that he was ready to leave. That stopped working tho after losing it down the drain and when we bought another to replace it he almost lost his finger when his ring caught on something and he had to stop wearing it because of his work.
    Thanks for all the great stories!

  6. Belinda, I just thought of something after reading your message. Men often remove their wedding rings because of their work, but women seldom do. I wonder why?

    • My husband had to have a finger reattached after a accident when he was a teenager so after almost losing a finger when his ring got caught at work one day he decided for safety reasons no longer wear it and after thinking about it for a while I knew it was the best thing to do and I guess some women might remove theirs and put them back on after work but I guess I haven’t thought about the wives before.

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