Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Romance Writer Moments

I've had two in the past couple of weeks. The first happened in the grocery store. It was around 3 o'clock and I hadn't had lunch and I was starving. I figured it would be better to buy a little something healthy to eat and munch while I shopped rather devour a box of cookies in the car on the way home which was where I was headed.

So I'm eating my turkey wrap and steering the cart through the store with my elbows. There's mayonnaise dripping down my wrist that I'm considering licking off (did I mention that I was STARVING?) and this woman comes up to me in the meat department and says, "excuse me, are you Eileen Rendahl?" I said yes. And she starts clapping her hands and sort of squealing because she recognized me from the photo in the back of the book and calls her daughter over to meet me.

And I have mayonnaise dripping down my wrist and lettuce between my teeth. Very unglamorous. Not how I pictured that moment at all. I did, however, want to hug the woman, but refrained because I didn't want to pay her drycleaning bill.

The second one happened at our neighborhood block party. Andy and I were chatting with a new neighbor who lives sort of catty-corner from us when Felix who is our neighborhood Gladys Kravitz among other things came up. Felix has a VERY loud voice and a VERY thick Polish accent and is VERY nosy, but I don't care because he calls me Princess. I may forgive almost anything -- including, I suspect, some casual inspection of my recycling from time to time -- if you will just call me Princess on a regular basis.

Anyway, Felix comes up to us and says (really loudly), "You know, she write book! You can read! They have at bookstore! On shelf!"

New neighbor asks what I write and I tell him and he says, "Ha ha ha, I bet they all have Fabio on the cover."

New neighbor is now dead to me.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I found that so dismissive and denigrating. I wanted to punch him.

How do people react to you when you tell them what you do? Do you ever get recognized?


Anonymous said...

That was so rude..... it also strikes me as so socially awkward. You know the idiot who said the first thing that came to mind, and for him, romance was Fabio...

you are right to avoid him. we don't need more idiots in our lives..

Eileen said...

But perhaps I should NOT leave the flaming bag of dog poo on his front step?

Stephanie Doyle said...

No - do that too.

I just was talking about my cover art for my next book and somebody mentioned Fabio. It's like really? Still? Romance = Fabio?

Anyway congratulations for being recognized!

Eileen said...

I know! I wanted to ask him what decade he thought we were in. Was disco still all the rage?

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, Princess, that neighbour deserves to be dead to you.

I've never been recognized like that (my photo isn't even on my covers), but I've certainly had that dismissive attitude.

Just this weekend, I was at this tres cool coffee shop in the hood and there were these lovely artworks on display using digital frames. I was kind of eavesdropping enough to realize at some point that one of the women sharing the big table I was working at was the artist.

So, as I was packing up to go I complimented her work. That got us talking a bit and I told her I wrote books for young adults which lead to her telling me she was friends with Yann Martel and his wife Alice Kulpers, and she hoped I wasn't writing Those Vampire Books.

I am ashamed at my reaction because I shook my head and laughed. (Simultaneously realizing that no way could I tell her the titles of my books at that point since one has the word vampire in the title....)

I recovered slightly by telling her that I wasn't averse to books like "Those Vampire Books" or any books that were primarily entertainment, and that I thought teens reading ANYTHING as opposed to watching video games or only TV and movies was a good thing. And we chatted for a while and I don't think she was disagreeing with me... But in the end, I think she was someone who might be interesting to know (she does supply teaching and some library stuff, too -- plus she's friends with a Mann Booker prize winner!) but if I see her again I'll have to own up to my lie in response to her insult clouded comment...

At least Princess owned up to her genre. You're my hero, Princess. :)

Maureen McGowan said...

PS. And how cool about being recognized in the store!!!!

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