Saturday, February 21, 2004

The Roar of the Crowd


Check out this crowd of earthworm enthusiasts at Miller Farms Nursery this morning. I am simply astonished that 60 people would show up on a chilly February morning to hear about worms.

In fact, there were so many people registered for the workshop that I realized I might not have enough books. Miller Farms had a few on hand, and the bookstores in town all had two or three copies, but I thought that wouldn’t be enough. This is one of those things that authors worry about—you put so much energy into making an event happen, and a big group shows up, ready to buy books, and there aren’t any books to buy. The moment is lost.

So I called my publisher and bought a couple more boxes of books from them, as long as they could ship them quickly and get them here by Friday. This proved to be a somewhat complicated transaction because I was on the road at the time and never could remember to call them before their East Coast office shut down for the day. We managed to make the arrangements by voice mail, but by yesterday evening, the books weren’t here, and I had just resigned myself to this unexpected book shortage.

Then, when I arrived at Miller Farms this morning, there was a message waiting for me from my husband. UPS had just delivered the books. I didn’t even know they delivered on Saturdays. “Get a cab,” I told Scott (we only have one car), “and bring them down here.”
The workshop itself was great fun. I love talking to a big audience because there’s so much laughter and excitement in the air. After a while, I just start taking questions, and the audience usually covers all the main points I had planned to—what do worms eat (fruits, veggies, paper, no meat, no dairy, no fat), where should the bin go (outside, sheltered from rain and sun), what about fruit flies (keep a layer of shredded paper on top to keep them out), etc. etc. The nursery sold about a dozen Can-O-Worm bins and coupons for mail-order worms from Happy D Ranch. (It is surprisingly difficult to find a good supplier of worms here in Humboldt County...makes me wonder if I should have gone into worm farming on a larger scale after all and supplied them myself. But Happy D does a great job of shipping worms through the mail.)

As it turned out, we didn’t need all the books I'd ordered, but we did sell quite a few and I was glad to have them anyway. I know I’ll want an extra box to take on the road with me when the book tour begins, just in case there’s another unexpectedly large, boisterous, worm-friendly crowd out there.

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