“I’ll read your book on the plane,” says Scott Jacobs, famous artist.

He smiles in a way that makes me feel as if I have just handed him a piece of art as valuable as his own. And, mind you, his paintings are valuable. One of them, a large purple iris, has just sold for tens of thousands.

The art show began the day before and, as I already mentioned, I brought nothing to wear but beach clothes. That evening, Scott’s show was unveiled and, perhaps as a motivator to bid, some attendees, including me, were gifted a photo album of his paintings. I decided right then to pretend these snapshots were the real thing.

As Scott’s show ends on the second day, art lovers who’ve purchased genuine, original paintings line up for signings and a photo shoot. Ding! An idea rings in my head. I hang around, chat with people, and watch the queue shorten til only I am left. Scott appears people-weary, but I hold out his photo album and ask, “Will you sign this?”

With black, bold Sharpie, Scott fills the front page with his signature and “Best wishes to Eleanor.” Then I offer Sticks, Stones & Songs to him. “May I present you with a copy of my art—art in the form of words?”

The fatigue in his eyes morphs to sparkle, and his response is genuine, “What a special gift! Will you please sign it?”

The emotion of the moment turns my writing into a scribble. But I pretend I’m cool as we pose for the camera.

At dinner that evening, Rob, the grandiloquent-British-accent auctioneer, taps me on the shoulder. “Your book starts with an auction!!”

My face must be shaped like a question mark, so he says, “When I took Scott to the airport, he showed me your book. I saw that auction scene in the first chapter. And I am all about auctions….I can buy a copy on Amazon, right?”

“Yes, of course. And…here is a bookmark to go with it.” I say, while excoriating myself for having packed only one book—the one I gave to Scott.

Linda, my new art-show friend from Port Angeles says to him, “It’s a great story. You will enjoy it.”

Rob looks down his highfalutin nose at her and replies, “I know, you told me that last night!”

And I’m glad he can’t see my tattered flip-flops under the table.