I attended a book signing last week. The young author was making his publishing debut, and he read the entire story – including the dedication and his bio – for an audience of writing-novice colleagues.

I attended a book signing last week. The young author was making his publishing debut, and he read the entire story – including the dedication and his bio – for an audience of writing-novice colleagues.


The book (“The Talking Spoon”) was a tale of retribution told in allegorical form. The anti-bullying theme was sufficiently subtle, and, after a few twists, justice was served, much to the satisfaction of the audience. The book was illustrated by the author in line drawings, with hints of expressionism in the generally representational style.


The story itself told of the friendship of the Talking Spoon and Fork, and their common enemy, the Monster Knife. Of particular significance was the home of the Monster Knife: the Bad Utensils’ Land, where all the dangerous utensils lived. The bold illustration, all jagged edges and pointy teeth, was a graphic representation of the dangerous drawer, off-limits to the writer in real life.


The author explored both the villain’s and the heroes’ motivations while building to the story’s climax. Through an ingenious tactic – pretending to be statues, and then snatching Monster Knife and throwing him out of the yard – Spoon and Fork prevailed, presumably making the kitchen safe for benign utensils everywhere.


The most touching part of the book was the dedication. In six simple words, the author paid tribute to brotherly love: “This story is dedicated to Timmy.” A sketch of a smiling, waving figure spoke volumes about the feelings behind the dedication.


The author’s bio was a refreshing change from the self-gratifying prose found on many book jackets. The character sketch in poetic form touched on the author’s physical appearance, family situation, likes, fears and dreams. He also managed to communicate his love for his parents, sports and “Star Wars,” as well as his deep-seated fear of losing and scary movies (apparently “Star Wars” doesn’t fall into that category.) The revelatory nature of the poem showed good self-assessment skills, which will serve the author well in the future.


As I sat in a place of honor next to the author – he had invited me, personally – I mused that, while I had been writing for years, I had yet to be featured at an “author’s circle.” Perhaps this is because I’ve never actually written a book. In all fairness, however, I haven’t had the careful mentoring he has received for the better part of the past year, either. I didn’t begrudge him the opportunity; on the contrary, I was thrilled to witness and participate in his literary triumph.


I don’t remember much about kindergarten. I certainly don’t remember signing commemorative copies of a self-published book. Kindergarten is different now. I hope my son Brian will always remember “The Talking Spoon,” his author’s circle, and the incredible teacher who gave him – and every youngster in her class – a taste of the literary life.


Patriot Ledger contributor Julie Fay is a winner of the 2010 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Read more at www.juliefays blog.blogspot.com.