Brace yourselves, people. The Chords of Strength book tour is a mere 12 days away, and I know many of you will be experiencing your first close encounter with Mr. David Archuleta when you hand him your cherished copy of his book to sign.
If you’re wise, you’ll bring a friend, relative or pay a stranger to go with you because you likely won’t remember anything past, “Hey!”
I do remember vividly the first time I met David … most of it, anyway. What I do recall is how compelled I felt to do so. Partly because I had this overwhelming need to say a simple thank you in person, but mostly because … to be honest, I still haven’t answered that question.
And when did the moment finally arrive? Far away from home in the pre-show wait-by-the-buses line in Manchester, N.H. I’ll never forget it. Hearing that now familiar explosion of screams, I looked to my left, and there he was. Taller than I expected, younger than I expected, solid as a tree trunk. Head down as he furiously autographed pictures, T-shirts, iPods, all the while looping gift bags on his wrist and responding to fans with a nod, an “aw, thanks,” a “heheh” … and that smile.
But what’s seared on my brain isn’t his glow or what he was wearing or saying but what I felt — relief.
I’m not sure, but after going over and over that moment, I know that’s the right word. Relief.
I remember thinking: He is real. He does exist. I didn’t dream him … He is real and he’s standing right there busy at his job. Not larger than life but beautifully ordinary. Just like me. Just like us. With a job to do. A path to follow.
I had been nervous about meeting him, but as he drew closer I felt calm wash over me. I’ve felt that each time I’ve met him. I’m nervous beforehand but when I actually meet him I feel completely relaxed, he disarms me and puts me at ease. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an out-of-body experience and afterward I feel like I’m about to pass out, but calmly, in slow motion.
It’s a different experience for everyone, of course. But with the book tour approaching, I thought this might be a good time to offer some tips for first-timers:
2. Keep it short. They run those autograph lines like a Marine Corps drill. In fact, I think they use actual Marines.
3. Play by the rules. This is not the time to sneak in your 10 copies of CFTH for signing … or your “Please Tour Canada” petition (of course, that second one’s entirely up to you 🙂 )
4. Hold back your tears. Unless you want to relive your Book Signing Meltdown for the rest of your days, get a grip! If you feel you’re about to lose it, dig your nails in your palm. (I only know this from others, of course.)
5. And THE most important tip of all: Snag one of those Super-Sonic K-Tel Time Machines on e-Bay and m.a.k.e…e.v.e.r.y…m.o.m.e.n.t…l.a.a.a.a.a.s.t.
Does anyone else have any advice for the first-timers out there?
P.S. The lovely and amazing Abrra created this beautiful video tribute to David and his fans … and she was sweet enough to include SnowAngelz! (we turn up about 3:56, you’ll see David chuckle because djxox and River started to sing O Canada to us and then DAVID started to sing it! Good times.)