Originally this post was going to be something completely different. Then Sally wrote Give an Author a Dirty Book.
Aside from being touched and wanting her to know how she connects when she doesn't even realize it, her words brought back a master class of sorts. Although in not exactly the same way, that second chair she sat in, and much of what comes with it, was mine back in 1995.
Julia Child occupied the first chair. She had her Master Chef series on PBS (I'd been fortunate to be one of them) and an accompanying cookbook. As Julia promoted the book in each of the chefs' cities, we did a book signing with her.
At our signing the line of people was disappearing into infinity with everyone waiting hours for a moment with Julia. I watched her respond to each one as though they were having coffee together. She connected. Often authors with that kind of following go on autopilot. Not Julia.
During my turn to sign, I worked on being invisible. I was just the guest chef; this was Julia's time. I'd quickly murmur thanks and sign the books to keep the line moving.
Twenty minutes in, Julia leaned over and whispered, "Look each person in the eye, dearie. They've waited a long time to see you. They deserve your attention."
She pulled back, grinning like an imp. "Dear lady," I thought, "no one is here to see me, but thanks."
Lesson learned, Julia.