Seeing John Grisham the Day that Prince Died

Ever since I got my tickets to attend the John Grisham lecture, April 21st was, to me, John Grisham Day. I was excited to see and listen to this mega-writer and I have to say, he didn’t disappoint. He is charming, funny and self-deprecating. I am not sure what I expected but he is definitely more. It’s official. I’ve been Grishamed.

It was inspiring to hear about his initial struggles with this first novel, early marketing snafu’s and his fly-by-night experiences with Hollywood. He joked about his kids playing around the thousand copies of A Time to Kill he bought for his book launch party and how there were plenty of boxes worth of books for them to play around AFTER the party as well. It was also sweet to hear how his first reader and critic is still his first reader and critic-his wife. It turns out his foray into writing and his subsequent sky-rocketing career was and still is very much a family affair. Not many can do it alone and John Grisham is no different than a lot of us.

I think what I enjoyed most was his little stories about his writer friends, Pat Conroy and Stephen King. He spoke passionately and with thoughtful humor about his friendship with Conroy, who passed away in March. And while he and Stephen King are two very different writers (and people), they have a very strong connection through their experiences and success. I never knew. Imagine driving down the back roads of Mississippi and seeing those two on a joy ride together, but that is exactly what he described.

I had an image in my head of this stuffy, corporate intellectual but, in actuality, John Grisham is an endearing and relatable, husband, father and avid baseball fan. For a few hours, I sort of forgot he was a multi-million best-selling author and became enthralled with a regular guy telling stories of his own life.

Then, I went home at the end of John Grisham Day to face another reality-a world without Prince.