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San Francisco Signing 2/9/13

Guest Shivam Bhatt

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Guest Shivam Bhatt

Borderlands Books, in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District, on an impossibly gorgeous day in the beginning of February. The town is alive with the start of the Lunar New Year festival, as well as the local baseball team's fan festival celebrating their world series win.


With that in mind, is it any wonder that the stretch limo bearing Brandon and Harriet was nearly an hour late? The store rocked with the tension of 265 people waiting for the final showdown, the last interaction with the Wheel that never stops spinning. And really, the air practically hummed with the joined murmurs of the waiting, punctuated with the occasional bursts of nervous laughter.  And we, the Memory Keepers, waited.


Eventually, Sanderson and Harriet showed up, and we got some 20 minutes to hang out with them. Brandon? Taller than you expect. No, even taller than that. Our conversation was casual, relaxed, and almost entirely spoiler free.  It was more about the nature of touring, and the nature of writing.  We felt so at ease.


We went out to the signing, and it was overwhelmingly crowded without being oppressive. The Questions and Answers were almost identical to those asked at other signings, as my fellow keepers have already reported on. No Outriggers, WoT encyclopedia next year, and stories about the notes and the writing process.


The most interesing piece was on Androl, who was almost wholly Sanderson's creation. Jordan had many view points at the tower, and Sanderson collapsed it into one, giving the soldier a power that Sanderson wished had been in WoT since his youth.  Apparently, Jordan had a book of leather working he had intended to use somehow, and Sanderson gave that skill to his character in homage.


But that was all ephemera. In each town, fans ask the same questions, and Sanderson, with incredible class and a humble nature, answers as if it was the first time he'd ever been asked the question. In our conversation beforehand, we talked about how the signature was really irrelevant next to the chance to shake hands, to whisper thanks, to have the eye to eye link between creator and fan.  That is what makes the wait worth it.


My real joy of the evening came in waiting in the line, folding the pages to offer to Brandon.  Being able to be a fly on the wall of those meetings, those links between author and fan, was incredible. It was energizing and vibrant.  Each time, Sanderson would take a book, shake a hand, and ask politely if there were any questions. Many people said "No, this book speaks for itself, but I just wanted to thank you for seeing it through."  Of those questions asked, the overwhelming number asked about the Tinkers Song, which I began to link to the Buddha's sense of enlightenment--If someone hands you enlightenment, it is not worth anything at all. 


A young woman came up with a beaten and bruised wheel of time book and mistborn hardback.  She said that she loved these books, and it was incredibly difficult to find them in her village back in India. Another woman drove five hours to be here. Yet another stumbled in seeing the memory keeper shirts, because her boyfriend was a huge fan and had no idea the signing was happening.


A young man brought in copper etched plates with maps from mistborn that he had made himself. Sanderson's jaw dropped then.


And through it all, Sanderson sat there, smiled, and signed. Every person was met with patience and pleasure, and allowed as much time as it took to say whatever was weighing on their heart.  And Harriet, the quintessence of class.


Of the events that happened, though, none was more personally important than this--I asked Brandon if he'd like to play magic on Sunday, perhaps catch dinner first. And he said sure. While timing prevented dinner, we were able to draft in his hotel, in the lobby of the San Francisco Ritz, and it was just wonderful. 


As a memory keeper, I'd have sat and volunteered for free, just for the joy of watching others be so happy. But the memories made will be kept, and the joy will be shared forever.



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If you don't have a video and would like to include one taken of the Q&A session + reading for your stop in your report feel free to use the one I'm almost done uploading to youtube. (About 30 minutes left on upload) http: // youtu.be/v1YwYJpjcfc (remove spaces before and after the //)


I had a great angle and used my tripod to get a steady video recording. The video is missing about half of one question in the middle of the session and a sentence or two at the end of the reading due to some issues my camera had during the recording process and I had to merge a minute from my iPhone during his answering of my question. Other than that I think it ended up looking pretty good.


You guys had a great turnout and I was glad I could make your stop as well as the Sacramento one since we could not have a reading or Q&A during ours and I really enjoyed that part, plus had some more items I was able to get signed that I forgot about the day before.

Edited by Nikon
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I was there, I'm the guy in the red hat and gray hoodie in the bottom left of the video.  It was a good signing, what surprised me was that more of the questions were for Brandon's own work, rather than WoT.  The ones I went to for Books 12 & 13 were all about WoT.  Good to see his fan base growing.


I'd never been to that bookstore, it was very cool.  I'd go there regularly if it wasn't out of the way for me.  Brandon said it was the only place they asked that wanted to host a signing for him when Elantris came out.

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