One of the lovely things about owning a bookstore for as long as I have is you get to know people you might not otherwise meet. Chris Bohjalian has become a friend of the bookstore and of me. In March we provided books on extremely short notice for a talk sponsored by the Armenian Society and the local library.
Each group thought the other had gotten in touch with us about the event. Neither had. Elizabeth, thinking ahead, had ordered multiple copies of Sandcastle Girls, in anticipation of the folks wanting the book. The day of the event we got a call about selling books. We had neither the staffing nor all the multiple stacks of backlist we like to have at these events. The library took our dozen hardcovers and sold them all. Chris wrote a lovely email to us thanking us for having the books. Then he and started started chatting.
When I’m not at the bookstore I teach and perform stand-up comedy throughout New England. Chris and his wife, Victoria, have been to many shows. Chris also writes a column, Idyll Banter, in the Burlington Free Press every Sunday. He had an idea to write a column about me in advance of a comedy show. The column: Throwing the book (seller) at Comedy came out yesterday and the comedy show was last night.
Chris interviewed me two weeks ago and marveled at the process of comedy and my work with teaching in the prisons. It was fun to be interviewed by Chris because usually I’m the one asking him questions. He knew I was having my gallbladder out last week and he didn’t want to interrupt my recovery with fact-checking questions. So he wrote the column ahead of time and called me on vacation to fact-check. Picture this: I’m walking back from lunch in Key West while Chris reads me the draft of the column. Pretty cool stuff. Even my college friend, Isabelle, who does not impress easily, was fairly amazed at what was going on.
So, all the comics killed last night. And, I’m fairly certain we all had Chris’s column and enthusiasm for comedy to thank for the standing-room-only crowd.