A place to discuss Forrest’s book, Once Upon a While, A Third Memoir by Forrest Fenn.
A place to discuss Forrest’s book, Once Upon a While, A Third Memoir by Forrest Fenn.
Thanks to Toby and Shelley for live-streaming the book-signing event and for posting their great photos. Forrest asked me to write a few words and post a few pictures. Here is a written account of what I remember with a few of my photos (and some texted to me) capturing most of the events from my view with a few words to explain.
The Pre-party was organized by Whiskeyes (from the Chicago area) and held at The Thunderbird Bar and Restaurant above the plaza. They planned for 16 people and gave us our own private room… we filled it over the course of the 2 1⁄2 hours we gathered there. Most of the regulars were there, plus some new faces. It was a joy for me to hang out with new and old Fenners. I remembered all the names for about an hour… here it is two days later and I’ve forgotten a few. I apologize for the names I’ve forgotten but will mention some of the ones I remember. If people could post comments with their name and identifying photo, that would be nice for those who could not attend.
BoomerGirl brought her grandson all the way from Portland, Katya from Taos, Amy from way out in the boondocks near Nederland Colorado, and Desertphile from way out in the boondocks across the Chama River across from the monks who all live near Ghost Ranch (Abiquiu), New Mexico. Whew!
Darcy Howat came all the way from British Columbia, Canada, to attend the events. He was smart and brought paper and colored markers for us all to sign our names and where we came from (and I don’t mean our mothers… he wanted to know where we reside.) I would have thought he might have won the no-prize for traveling the farthest but I met people from Florida and someone from Hawaii. Sorry, Darcy.
Everyone knows Slurbs and his beautiful wife Andrea. They both live near me in Rio Rancho (near Albuquerque). I hope I’m allowed to announce that Slurbs plans to retrieve Fenn’s treasure chest next weekend. It’s funny how many people told me they would have the loot before June 1st, 2018… and they all are looking in different states! Ha Ha… Gosh, I just love this game!
Toby Younis and a guy named John or Jonathon, or not. Why do I think he’s from the mid-west and searches in Yellowstone National Park? I might be wrong about one of those…
The blond woman is from Canada… I’m almost certain.
Around 4:00 people started leaving The Thunderbird and walked the block to Collected Works Bookstore. Amy and Desertphile danced their way there.
Or they were driven by their chauffeur. Jamie is the driver and Whiskeyes Michelle is standing outside the car laughing.
Some of us were not as savvy and waited until almost 4:15. Once inside the front door, we encountered a long line (mob) of attendees who were receiving their book and ticket from the desk. Dorothy the owner did not allow anyone to take a seat prior to the scheduled starting time of 4:30 sharp. Kudos to Dorothy and all her staff for putting on this event. (I asked Dorothy for permission to take her picture for this story and she adamantly said NO. Hmmm… she probably heard about what happened in 2015 at the Gaspard Book-Signing when I took a picture of Charmay and posted a story about her on this blog. AND… I want you all to know Charmay attended this event and was sitting in the second row from the stage. I did take a picture of her but did not speak to her, but I waved. I bet she had nightmares later!)
While folks waited to pick up their book and ticket, Forrest so graciously meandered through the mob and chatted with the attendees.
Promptly at 4:30, Dorothy ushered us to the seating areas. Different colored tickets meant different sections. Toby was already prepared and set up for the live-stream. ABC Nightline also had a crew recording the event and interviewing searchers one- on-one afterwards. Hopefully Dal will post the air date several days in advance. This screening should have concluded the footage they needed.
Susan Caldwell and Lou Bruno are the team behind the book. Here Susan is signing my book and telling me which star on the front cover I should fish for… OMG, I’m kidding!!! Please don’t call her and ask her what she wrote in my book. Forrest and Susan might actually kill me… I will be banned from future events if anyone calls her.
Forrest continued to mingle within the crowd for awhile…
Then he got tired and sat down on the edge of the stage. He was so kind and entertained us with photo ops. (Eric, Desertrat, Sacha, Forrest, Katya)
I think this is a selfie taken by Sacha of herself, ff, and me. Covert One is in the seat in white shirt behind me.
Shiloh, Forrest’s grandson (the young hunk as I heard numerous women refer to him) introduced Forrest and Doug Preston promptly at 6 pm. The event was officially underway. Forrest spoke a bit and then turned the talk over to Doug Preston. There was a Q and A afterwards but very few questions were answered regarding the treasure hunt or poem. Shiloh reminded everyone this event was about the new book. However, there were some very comical moments during the course of the Q&A and the room exploded with laughter multiple times.
About 50 minutes later, Forrest shook Shiloh’s hand and thanked him. The three guys on stage applauded and the room followed in one great big loud applause, thanking all three men for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening.
We all stayed seated while Forrest and Doug made their way to the back room to the table that was set up for the actual book-signing portion of the evening. Then one very long line formed to take your turn. You would have thought they were selling an iPhone X. Except none of us had tents and sleeping bags. We waited patiently to get our turn.
Sacha, Eric, Desertphile, Amy, and I were some of the last few to get our books signed. It was now approaching the witching hour at La Fonda and we were parched!
It was almost 8:30 by now and all the tables were taken but we found a few empty spots at the bar. New faces in this photo are Brooke from Texas behind Katya and Bill Gorman behind her.
I don’t know what time the lights came on and they had last call, but we were there until almost midnight. Doug was a real gentleman and walked me the four blocks to my Inn.
I tried to sleep but my mind was racing… thank goodness I scheduled the Friday morning brunch for 10:30. I set the chirping crickets alarm on my phone just in case. Then I realized how hungry I was, and realized, like an idiot, I did not bring any food or snacks with me. I’m much more prepared when I treasure hunt. I remembered walking by a little alcove just past the lobby (in the Hilton just behind the bookstore… awesome room and an affordable rate on a week night in the off season, for future information) that was filled with drinks and snacks. I was too lazy to get up, get dressed, and get there… it involved a long walk down dark hallways and using either a tiny elevator or steps in a window-less stairwell. I disliked both choices so drank more water.
I may have dozed off but I didn’t think so. All of a sudden I realized I had not put my parking permit on my dashboard. What if they had towed my truck and I got up later and had no transportation to get to Brunch? I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 am. The adrenlin rush caused my brain to awake fully. I had to get dressed and verify if my truck was beside the back door of the Inn where I had parked it. It was easy to get to… a few steps down the hall to the door. I pushed on the door to exit. It was locked.
OMG, I retreated back the dark hallway towards the lobby. I chose using the elevator. I stopped in the alcove and grabbed a bag of white cheese nips, about the only kind of junk food I could stand to eat. The hallways and lobby were empty and I startled the woman behind the desk to pay for my snack. I told her I’d forgotten to place the bright magenta parking permit on my dash and I was worried my truck might have been towed. She smiled and said it was ok…
Making my way from the lobby back down the hall, into the elevator, down a longer darker hall and finally to my room, I opened the bag of junk food and ate as much as I could stand. It helped erase the hunger, and I slept.
Friday’s Brunch was scheduled for 10:30 at the Tesuque Village Market. I arrived shortly after 10 am to let them know a crowd of possibly a dozen or so people were about to descend on the place. As I stepped inside, I noticed a long row of tables with familiar faces. You guys are so awesome!! There were already a dozen Fenners seated with more people to arrive. The woman owner/manager said they’d turn on the heaters out in the enclosed porch area and set up the entire area for our group.
Forrest had emailed me that morning that he planned to attend but would be late. None of us cared what time he’d arrive… we just hoped he could attend, eventually.
Our group grew to 30, and Forrest did indeed arrive around 11:15. He ordered coffee, sat at various places around the table to talk to most folks, and eventually stood around and posed with us for even more pictures.
It must have been well after twelve by the time we all started to leave. A small group continued to hang out near the entrance where I had parked. I think we didn’t want the event to end… it was hard to say goodbye, not knowing when the 5 of us would see each other again. It was 1:09 pm when someone said “here comes Forrest.” He approached us grinning from ear to ear. He said he was hungry and came back for a frito pie. He hadn’t eaten breakfast like the rest of us. He motioned for us to follow. We were seated at the original table where the large group had assembled briefly 3 hours earlier. Sometimes it pays to linger awhile… Forrest ate his Frito pie, a few of us ordered and ate again, and then we listened to Forrest tell stories about his business days selling art. It was the end to a perfect 24 hours for Amy, Desertphile, StrawShadow, Amber, and me… and hopefully Forrest.
Thanks to everyone who made these events so successful! Here’s a link to all the pictures:
November 4th 2017
As Cynthia has pointed out…to get a signed copy you MUST check the “signed copy” button on the order form.
You can also order by calling the bookstore 505 988-4226 and of course you can pick one up in person if you are at the book store.
Submitted October 2017
A few days ago I had the opportunity to meet Forrest at the Collected Works Book Store in Santa Fe. He popped into the store occasionally, unannounced, this week so he could pre-sign all the new books before they were shipped out to the readers. I sat at the table quietly watching as Forrest signed book after book after book. It was a truly organized event between him and the guy who worked there. A carton of 20 books would be carried to the chair beside Forrest where the guy would open the box, set a stack of books on the table to Forrest’s rightside where he could easily slide them one at a time in front of him. Then the signed books would be placed neatly inside the same carton and moved to the back of the store to get ready to be shipped out. Before I knew it, Forrest looked at me and said he was done. I was impressed… he had signed 80 books in what seemed like just a few minutes.
He asked me if I’d like to chat over cups of hot chocolate… yes, I said. From there we drove to Downtown Subscription where they serve the best mugs of hot chocolate in Santa Fe. It was crowded but we found a small empty table in the midst of the mob. During the course of our conversation Forrest suggested I write a review of his new book and send it to Dal to post. I was flattered he asked me and I agreed to do it.
Remember this story, originally titled “Eunice, LA” and posted on Dal’s blog as Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Nine in March 2017? Many of us know it as the Bingo story. Like many other stories in this new book, slight changes have been made between the original scrapbooks posted on the blog and the revised stories in Once Upon A While. This one really caught my eye…
If you notice, the text / title on this page says RAINY NIGHT BLESSINGS but the chapter title at the top of each page of this chapter says RAINY DAY BLESSINGS. Is this difference in words (between NIGHT and DAY) an accidental mistake or an intentional hint to us searchers? Is this why Forrest told me to mention this picture? I don’t know…
I am not the naturally gifted writer that Forrest is, or Douglas Preston, or Jenny Kile, or Dal. My review of this book is the way I talk… fragmented thoughts along the line of Fenn treasure searchers, not like the prose of the literary masters. There are 184 scrapbooks, 27 Vignettes, and 3 Passages written by Forrest and posted on Dal’s blog. 39 of these were included in this new book Once Upon A While. Even if you’ve read and memorized most of these, I highly recommend you buy or borrow a copy of this book and revisit each of these 39 stories. Forrest added “MY TWO SENSE” at the end of each chapter (with a post mark stamp), often punctuating the story with his wit, humor, and anecdotes, as well as a few updates.
One of those updates is on page 171 in The Bullet Comes Home. I don’t want to spoil the ending so won’t reveal the additional text included in this chapter. But it made me sad… I had the privilege of sitting in The Bullet a couple years ago while Forrest sat in the driver’s seat and explained the details of the mechanics of the car, or lack of mechanics, I should say. Now it’s just a bittersweet moment in my memory. As Forrest so wisely puts it “Once you leave home you can never move back.”
If I still haven’t piqued your interest in this new book, I gotta mention the drawings… all by Forrest and mostly stick figures. He thinks he’s not a good artist.. I think he’s exceptional and each drawing adds to the stories. Notice his turquoise belt buckle on each of the stick figures that are him throughout the book. I thought that alone was clever..
And lastly, in my opinion, this book is visually stunning. I love color… color pictures, color stick drawings, and color backgrounds with the bleeds to the edges. Just leafing through the pages should make a person want to look at each page and eventually read the text. And whoever came up with the idea of putting the page numbers in large font in the center of the margins? For any of you who have ever written a book, or magazine, or maybe a yearbook years ago, you have to appreciate the creative style Susan, Lou, and Forrest captured here. This is one of his best!