By SUSANNE MARIE POULETTE
It was Tuesday morning, July 29, 2014, in Saratoga Springs. The sky was bright and clear, and the sun was warm and inviting. A cool breeze blew across Broadway and down Caroline Street, comforting the river of book-toting supporters during the four-hour wait to meet former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Folks of all ages patiently stood in line, chatting among themselves, hugging their prized copies of Hard Choices, and sparkling with anticipation.
I wondered how many in the crowd had already read, or planned to read, their copy of Secretary Clinton’s book. How many people were there purely for the historical nature of the event, to meet the author, or to own a signed copy of the book? I posed the following questions to several attendees:
“Why are you here today, and what have you learned or want to learn from Secretary Clinton’s book?”
Nancy B.: I’m looking forward to reading her book, but I’m also here with my two young daughters, six and seven year olds. I think it’s important for them to meet the former First Lady and former Secretary of State, and potentially the first woman president of the United States. So I’m mainly here for them.
Hazel, 9 years old: Because I want to be president someday, so I thought it would be nice to meet Hillary Clinton. I’m reading her book, but I’m only two pages in.
Sydney, 8 ½: I’m really inspired by her because I want to be president someday. I haven’t started to read her book yet because I just bought it yesterday. We’re going to read it tonight. I really hope she runs for president.
Kathy: I want to meet our next president in person because I think she’s going to be the first female president of these United States. I back her 100% and I admire her.
David R.: I want to meet her and I think she’s probably going to run for president. It would be cool to meet the person who could be the next president.
Sean England: I’m here as Communications Associate with “Ready for Hillary.” We’re a grassroots organization urging former Secretary Clinton to run for president in 2016. As of today we have about 2 ½ million supporters across the country. We’re following her book tour across the country, engaging with her supporters and trying to get people excited about 2016. I thought the book was great. It was really a powerful book. She identified a lot of key accomplishments that she made when she was Secretary of State.
Debbie: I’m here because I had so much hope for the last election, and I feel that things are just so gridlocked right now. Sometimes I’m thinking that a woman’s touch—that collaborative relationship building and rapport building—that women do so well, might be what we need right now in our country. I’m hoping to learn about how she views world events, how she sees the global picture, how she sees our interconnection with other countries, and what her potential solutions are. I’m looking for her wisdom and experience.
Nikki: I’d like to learn about Hillary’s perspective on the decisions she was involved in as Secretary of State: what variables were considered, how her own personal beliefs or values affected her decisions, and how she felt about the outcome.
Our small, informal sampling suggests that there are numerous reasons why we purchase books and stand in line for hours waiting to meet an author. It seems clear, however, that this particular author drew Tuesday’s vast crowd for perhaps, more than just literary reasons.
The Writers’ Loop extends our thanks and best wishes to those who graciously contributed to this survey.