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I was out at Chesterfield Town Center B & N the other night, signing

It's funnier than it looks

which, believe me, I know is fairly ridiculous, and only partly because I don’t make any money when it sells since it was work-for-hire. Still, I have my reasons. I’m happy to get the book in people’s hands because it might help them love the outdoorsy, artsy stuff that’s all around us here in Richmond, and I’m happy to promote the James River Park System and our license plate campaign, and of course, I’m quite interested in yapping about Real Richmond food tours. I’ve had lots of pleasant conversations about Richmond with all sorts of people, and it’s been almost entirely enjoyable, but who wants to hear about that?

Standing or sitting in a store being ignored or ignoring people who clearly want to be ignored takes a special skill-set. I always knew my summer job at Dellas General Store in Cape May, hiding from customers who couldn’t find the other flip-flop or being treated like crap by mean managers would pay-off bigtime. 

I met a mother-daughter pair who were looking at a book about national parks right next to my table. When I asked if they’d spent time in any of the  James River Park’s 17 sections in the city, they sneered at me and said huffily that they live right at it and it certainly wasn’t  in the city. I gently and politely informed them that we were talking about different parks. To my credit, I didn’t say, “Um, maybe you should buy this book, cause you live near James River High School and Robious Landing Park, which is a perfectly fine place to live, but it ain’t the James River Park System.  Instead I offered them an enemies of James River Park sticker and left it at that.

Another memorable moment was when a woman feinted towards my table and when I asked how long she’d lived in Richmond, she answered, “one month.” I suggested the guidebook might be helpful. She looked at the cover that says Richmond, VA and said, “Oh, I don’t live in Richmond; I live in Salisbury,” and walked away.  Priceless. How mature am I that I resisted the temptation to shout after her, “Honey, you need this book more than most!”

We’ll see how I survive out in the wilds of Short Pump B & N today, from 11-2 and then in friendlier territory Tuesday, Nov. 9th from 5:30-7:30 at Libbie Place B & N.

I am now the proud owner of an ISBN of my very own.  Actually none of that previous sentence is true since the aforementioned ISBN that’s attached to the yet-to-be-published (or finished, truth be told) Insiders’ Guide to Richmond is a work-for-hire project, so I don’t own a vowel, much less a number associated with it, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble and all the rest are listing the book as an actual  book that will actually be published Sept. 1, so they must know more about the work habits of my editors than I do.  ISBN-13: 9780762760206. Such a nice number.

The disconcerting thing about being named Maureen Egan is that an unsuspecting reader could think I wrote Healthful Quantity Baking by Maureen Egan and others, Chocolate Cherry Tortes and Other Lowfat Desserts and Low Salt, Low Sugar, Low Fat Desserts. That doesn’t sound like me at all. That other Maureen Egan could ruin my reputation before my next book comes out: Really Bad for You, but Damned Good Baking in Large Enough Quantities to Kill Everyone You Know. I just did some baking last night, ostensibly to welcome friends back to our neighborhood, but really so I could shove oatmeal chocolate chip raisin bars into my mouth for breakfast. With fruit on the side, it’s almost not the worst thing I could have eaten, except that as of yet, I haven’t gotten around to the fruit.

I’m back!