Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Just some of my favorite Elmore Leonard covers
Quite a few years ago, along with at least a couple hundred other people, I met Elmore Leonard at a book signing at the old Borders in Birmingham. His signings there were something of a tradition. He seemed very frail, very tired, but his acerbic wit was on full display. He spoke briefly, and spent the entire evening signing books for a never-ending line of fans. As clearly exhausted as he was, he shook everyone's hands and smiled. When it was my turn, I asked if it was okay to get a photograph-- he stood up slowly (he'd been up and down and up and down all night, fulfilling photo requests), put an arm around my shoulders while my friend Carole took the picture. I said to him, "Thanks, Mr. Leonard." He smiled, shook my hand, and said, "No, Heath (he knew my name from signing my book), thank you," before shuffling back to his seat to sign a hundred more books. Not the greatest Elmore Leonard story, I know, but his graciousness, even when he so clearly was not having a great time, stayed with me.
So long, Mr. Elmore Leonard.