First of all, you have to be ready to depart on a 9:30 am ferry out of Rockland, for a scheduled 1 pm presentation and book signing. And you can't leave until the 3:30 pm boat departs. So here we are on one spectacularly blue sunny Saturday, for basically an 8-hour stretch. So, this is a commitment. We're in this for the long haul today.
Capt. Ryan Post is with me, along with his 13-year-old nephew Drew Philip, who offered to be our book and DVD pack horse and schlep everything onto the ferry. Drew's psyched because we put him in our press release picture and now he's our official groupie. All of Ryan's buddies are currently heading out to OxFest, a day-long festival of bands. He'd been hanging out with Geno, his sternman the night before and I'm probably guessing that he'd rather be on his way to Wiscasset with his friends at the moment than on our way to North Haven to work all day.
"Kind of a bus man's holiday for you," I said, as we stared over the white metal rail of the ferry into the churning deep blue water below. "Here it is your day off and you're back on the water."
"Nah," he scoffed. "There's no place I'd rather be than on the water."
An hour later, coming into the Fox Island Thoroughfare between Vinalhaven and North Haven, it strikes me how many grand houses and mansions are thisclose to the water's edge. Imagine. Spending your summer on this island, the channel right outside your bedroom window. It all seems like out of a sensitive woman's novel, this splendor and gentle living. But, Ryan grew up on an island. You'd better know how to be alone with yourself for long stretches or time without going stir crazy.
Waterman's Community Center welcomes us and we set down all of our gear. After some technical fiddling around with our presentation (great thanks go to Lana and Rachael for their help), we head out for a quick lunch. Soon, it was time for our presentation. The only problem? It's a sunny Saturday on the island. Would you rather be on the beach or in a darkened theater?
Instead of 40-50 people like we expected, about 15 showed up. (Sigh. Welcome to the typical book signing experience. Even Linda Greenlaw, whom I'd seen a week earlier at her book signing had about 20 or so people show up on a sunny day.) Still, as you can see from the quick clip below (Drew needs to be a little more steady on the camera :), we threw out an entertaining presentation about how the fictional subculture in my novel so closely resembles the one in which Ryan works and lives daily, as evidenced in Maine Buggin, his day-in-the-life DVD.
The thing is, it's all about the experience, not how many books/DVDs you sell. That's why writers and lobstermen are so similar--you ain't in this for the money, honey, you do it because it's your life. And honestly, with a couple of ferry cocktails on the way back home with the sun bouncing off the water, the comfortable hum of the ferry engines rumbling, and knowing you put in a good day--could there be anything better?
Columns about the sub-culture of lobstering that K. Stephens has collaborated on with Maine lobstermen and guest bloggers.