On Tuesday, November 11th, Stephen King released his newest novel, Revival. He also kicked off a week long book tour with a signing at the Barnes & Nobles near Union Square in New York City. I had the pleasure of being one of the
idiots super awesome people standing in line! Seriously though, it was a ton of fun. I got there at around 1:30 AM and there were already around 50 people in line, either sleeping on the sidewalk or dozing in chairs.
Thankfully there was a 24-hour CVS and a deli across the street. They had something that passed as coffee. Dunkin Donuts didn’t open until 6 AM though. Our spot in line had some great King fans. Everyone was excited and nice and just wanted to chat (when we weren’t dozing of course.) I met people from as close as Long Island and as far away as England. Everyone just seemed genuinely thrilled. There was only one heckler on the street. Some Irish dude that had clearly just been kicked out of the bar at closing time calling us “fools” and asking what we were doing with our lives. He was mostly unintelligible though and it provided some much needed entertainment.
At 9:00 AM the doors opened and they let us into the store in groups of 10. We bought our book then headed up to the 4th floor. Ah, the 4th floor, how do I remember thee? It was hot, ok. And cramped. They shoved 350 people into the space. They had chairs, yes,but they also had the heat cranked. I started to doze off at one point and jerked awake so hard I hit the lady next to me. She thought it was pretty funny though. See, that’s the great thing about this event. Having the shared love of King’s works made it feel like you were hanging out with 350 friends you never knew you had.
Then came the noon hour and the man himself. The room became very still and very quiet. Everyone waiting in anticipation. He came up the stairs and there was a raucous cheer. He’s tall, ya know? Taller than you think he’ll be. He did a little photo op with the Barnes & Nobles people and we all took advantage.
At this point my phone’s battery was near death. But then King walked up onto the platform and did some stretching exercises and I caught him in one of the greatest poses ever.
Classic, right? So then my phone died. Guess I shouldn’t have been on various apps all night. King said a few words and the signing began. It moved pretty quickly. There were no pictures and no personalizations, just a nice signature. I planned on just thanking him for the book but I was wearing my Boston Red Sox hoodie. He looked up and noticed it, then gave the thumbs up and told me it was good and he liked it. I told him I hoped we had better luck next season and he agreed that this season wasn’t very good. Then I did thank him. It was a nice interaction and I am thankful for his kindness, especially with so many people wanting his time. But what really makes me respect him is what he did for the person in front of me. She was our partner in line for the entire night and had flown up from Florida just for the occasion. She had never met King before and was nervous and excited and anxious and overwhelmed. I can’t even remember her name because I think I caught it only once. She went up and thanked him and told him how grateful she was. He took her hand and said wonderful words back to her. He was genuine and gracious and she practically floated off stage. Afterwards she was in near tears. It made me proud to be a fan.
I can only hope that everyone gets such a wonderful experience with whomever they hold in high regard.