Friday

Stones Into Book Sales

Earlier this week we heard from Jenn Northington, the events manager at a WORD in Brooklyn, who said she was always looking for "events that are out of the ordinary, that invite audience participation, that take the average reading + Q&A and make it better, stronger, faster."

Last month I attended an event at the Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, VT, wherein I broke a piece of granite in two.  How's that for action?

This event was unique from minute one.  The author, Hector Santos,  has just published a book about his work building stone walls.  I received a Constant Comment email about the event about 10 days beforehand.  The note promised a wall building demonstration.
And so it was.  Mr. Santos brought enough stones to build a small retaining wall, perhaps three feet long, on a table in the store.  Now, my interest in landscaping extends as far as: "a pot of pink flowers would look nice over there."  So I admit that not every bit of the presentation about drainage and cap stones and seams was applicable to me.
However.
Mr. Santos wanted to show how a piece of granite is split.  It's an igneous rock (thank you, 8th grade science teacher) and so it doesn't cleave with a whack of the hammer like a piece of slate.  Mr. Santos had scored and pre-drilled a 12" x 8" x 8" granite block.  He placed some metal wedges in the three drill holes to demonstrate how clean, straight breaks were made.
Then he asked for a volunteer.
I waited a polite second to make sure nobody else was dying to break that rock.  And then (hell yes!) I raised my hand.  I got down on the floor and took up the hammer, giving each set of wedges a couple of polite whacks.
Then the nice man told me I was going to have to hit them harder.
My face turning red, I upped my game.  And then I felt the rock start to give way.  And with rice krispie-like snap crackle pop sounds, that chunk o' granite broke in half.  And I did it.  Me.  With what my mother calls skinny chicken arms.
Surely not every book signing can or should feature the destruction of granite blocks.  But I did enjoy my moment of rock breaking.  And of course I bought the book.

The End.