As I walked down Jefferson Street toward Grass Roots Books & Music this afternoon, I thought up few questions to ask writer-director John Sayles.
Why did you decide to drop by Grass Roots? Can you briefly tell me about your new book, “Moments”? What’s the next movie you’re planning to do? Among your peers, who are the writers you admire most? And who are the filmmakers you admire most?
I got to Grass Roots at 12:30, the approximate time that Sayles was to appear for a “drive-by-book-signing.” He hadn’t arrived yet, so I talked with a few of his fans.
Victoria Bryhan of Corvallis had just bought “Moments,” one of the five copies Grass Roots had on hand.
“He has a broad range of topics that appear to me,” she said. “He’s addresses social issues. He’s a good storyteller.”
And a voluminous writer. “Moments,” at 955 pages, is a mammoth book.
Bob Cline, a retired Hewlett-Packard employee, also bought the book, although he’s more familiar with Sayles’ movies, including “Eight Men Out” and “The Brother From Another Pl
“He’s quite entertaining,” Cline said. “It’s more than cinematography. It’s the stories that are deep and meaningful.”
Bryhan, Cline and about a dozen other people waited patiently for the Sayles to arrive. By 1 o’clock, I was getting hungry. I gave Grass Roots manager Tiffany Jordan my cell phone number, and she graciously agreed to call me when he arrived.
Walking back to the Gazette-Times, I called my daughter Lisa and talked with her for about a minute.
I ate my lunch, worked on a few things, then at 1:40 decided to call Grass Roots. The man who answered the phone said Sayles had already come and gone. In the background, I could hear Tiffany Jordan say that she had called me and left a message.
Sure enough she had. While talking to my daughter, Tiffany had left a message. I was waiting to hear a ringtone during lunch. I wasn’t checking for messages.
So I didn’t get a photo or video or brief interview with Sayles, who was at the store for about 15 minutes with his partner, Maggie Renzi.
“He signed books and chatted with people,” Jordan said later. “He was very personable.”
Sayles, who lives in the Hudson Valley of New York, is on a cross-country tour promoting the book. He was in San Francisco on Monday and will be at Powell’s Books this evening.
You can follow Sayles’ tour on his blog.
So live and learn. The next time I see the words “drive-by-book-signing,” I’ll stick around. Lunch can wait.