We had an extraordinary event last night to celebrate the success of The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life by Jackson’s very own, Mark Synnott. The evening started at 7pm but for the Library staff, Whitney Community Center staff, Friends of the Jackson Library, and White Birch Books, it started months ago as planning and logistics for such a big event in our small town are staggering.
At 6:15pm we opened the doors at the Whitney Community Center. Sgt. Nathan Boothby, Fire Chief Jay Henry, and Fire Fighter Peter Benson along with myself were on hand to greet attendees as they arrived and be sure everyone could safely buy their copies from Laura and Nicole of White Birch Books. It was incredible to see so many familiar faces among the friends from further abroad including climbers, family, and friends and just interested parties.
At 7pm, author Mark Synnott began signing books while the Whitney Center and Library staff assembled the technology for the slide show and fitted a few microphones. By that time the Whitney Center was filled to capacity. Volunteers from the Friends of the Jackson Library jumped in to act as ushers to be sure every seat was filled and the exit doors were accessible just in case. Mr. Benson reminded the crowd of safety procedures before our own Gloria introduced Mark.
What followed was a fascinating collection of stories, anecdotes, and character descriptions from Mark’s experiences in the climbing world. There were lots of laughs and interesting photos of his adventures. Afterward more book buying and more book signing while our volunteers cleared up and everyone got home safely.
I am overcome this morning with gratitude and amazement at all the work that went into hosting this event. All the people listed above as well as some unseen support. How about a round of applause for Mr. Stokke who set up all those chairs and then took them down again afterward? Ms. Alison Verran secured us the space at the Whitney Center and stayed throughout to provide whatever support we needed. The Jackson Community Church who were poised to host the event before the Whitney became available. Emily, Mark’s publicist at Durron/Random House, sent out 7,000 flyers locally (*gulp*), got us a cool gigantic poster of the cover, and held all our hands through the planning! Local businesses who shared parking space and served some dinners and drinks (I hope) to the attendees before and after. White Birch Books did far more than sell books; they answered questions, promoted the event, helped set up, gave advice and were awesome help. You can still get your signed copy at their shop in North Conway. The police and fire departments for being there to help with crowd control and safety. As always, I want to recognize our Library staff, Trustees, and Friends group for always being so supportive. Meredith, Lisa, Gloria, and I all answered dozens of phone calls! And last, but far from least, thank you to Mark for writing such a super book and making his community so proud!
Events like this are more than just programs for citizens to attend, they are opportunities to share the magical kindness, grace, and generosity of this town with the whole area. We all joined up to represent Jackson so beautifully. Gosh, I love my job. – Lichen