‘Read This Great Book’

Among the more delightful challenges an author faces is deciding how to inscribe a book. “Best wishes,” seems nice, but generic. “Enjoy!” is fine, but impersonal. Just signing without a message feels somehow lacking.

Last night I was contemplating that quandary at the beautiful Los Angeles launch party for Following Ezra. I was humbled and touched that so many friends came to celebrate the book and, really, to celebrate Ezra. The room was electric with good feelings and celebration, but as I sat with my Sharpie, I was still hard pressed to come up with just the right words.

Then Ezra suddenly appeared at the table where I was signing books for a growing line of guests.

“I need another pen,” he said. And before I could stop him, he snapped up one of mine and dashed off, as only Ezra can.

I didn’t give it much thought until a few minutes later, when the people in line started handing me books that had already been inscribed—by Ezra.

Having him sign books wasn’t in the plan. At all. But somehow he decided it was the thing to do. And here’s the best part: Each time Ezra had signed his name, in bold block letters, he had come up with a unique inscription, and each one was a lot more clever and meaningful than anything I had come up with:

“Enjoy this great book!” “Have fun reading this book. There’s lots of stuff to learn in it.” “I hope you learn some about some good stuff in this book and have a few laughs.” The kid was a natural.

Earlier in the day, I had talked to Ezra about the party, and tried to explain it to him. By the end of the conversation, he understood: “It’s going to be a party about me!”

I explained that that was mostly true.

The rest of the family left home early to help set up the party, so Ezra and I drove over on our own. On the way, he told me how excited he felt. “Its like my bar mitzvah!” he said. “It’s like having my bar mitzvah again in two thousand eleven.”

In a lot of ways it was, with many of the same people gathered and having a great time in honor of a wonderful kid.

And just as he did at his bar mitzvah (see chapter 14, “Remembering the Future”) Ezra exceeded even my highest expectations, but in ways I could not have imagined. As I sat there signing, I looked up and spotted him across the room, wearing a Following Ezra t-shirt, with the dinosaurs representing the toys he used to line up obsessively on the back porch as a toddler, isolated from the world. And now he was glad handing his admirers, smiling, signing books, and loving every moment.

And writing much better stuff than his dad could come up with.         


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  1. Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Hi Tom. A friend forwarded me a notice about you appearing at Powell’s tomorrow. I’ll try to make it but it’s a Homework night, so not so sure … but I wanted to say, I read your blog and I will get your book, absolutely. The story about the book signing made me cry because people don’t understand how lucky we are to have these amazing human beings in our lives. They think, “Thank God I don’t have a child with autism.” Until they get to know Ezra, and Sam, my 11-year-old son. Snippet of a conversation on the morning commute today: His brother said, about his friend, “He’d never do that. He’s too good a friend.” Sam said, “Max, there’s no such thing as too good a friend.” If you get a chance, please check out Sam’s art sites: http://www.SamsArtBlog.com and http://www.KidsDigDinos.com. And thank you for writing what I’m sure is a beautiful book. I can’t wait to read it. Yvonne

    • Tom Fields-Meyer
      Posted September 15, 2011 at 12:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Yvonne. I’ll take a look. Sam sounds like a great kid. I love his comment. Thanks for reading, and enjoy “Following Ezra.”

  2. Montana
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

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