It’s Wednesday, and Sir Walter is up to his usual tricks at Jane Started It! (my other blog).
This week he’s giving advice on how to silence a bashful writer, one who has dared to bring up (at a party) the fact that she is, in fact, a published author. Sir Walter offers My Dear Vulgarian Miss a choice of cringe-worthy responses. Since the source for Sir Walter is, of course, myself, I thought up a list of horrible things. They’re comically bad, but still, you get to listen to my Inner Scardy Cat speak.
• Outright surprise: “You are published? Really. How … nice.”
• The bright smile: “Ooo goodie! Is your book about sex?” Say this loudly.
• Honest interest: “So, which famous author’s books do yours resemble?”
• 4G validation: “Are you on the NY Times Bestseller List? Here, I’ll check.”
• Curiosity: “Is your book an exposé? A shocking tell-all? Am I in it?”
• Disdain: “I read only the classics. And literary fiction, you understand.”
• The awkward silence, then a change of topic: “So, do you like hobbies?”
Here’s the thing. ONLY ONCE has someone said one of these to me.
The rest are phantoms, imaginary words that I will likely never hear!
So why do I torture myself with what could happen? Perhaps I think that by dwelling on the worst, a real-life stinging comment won’t have power to wound?
It’s a nonsensical approach that keeps me scared of people when I have no reason to be.
The fear of man does indeed bring a snare.
And the one comment I did hear? Last October I was signing books at the national meeting of JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America), and a smartly-dressed older woman passed by my table. When she realized we were authors, she said, with unnecessary force, “I read only Jane Austen.”
What could I say? Nothing, because I suddenly recalled what some of the Austen fiction books are like–lame, sexualized, inaccurate. What could I do but smile? Because that lady had a point.
So much for being wounded! I have a lot to learn …
(Cat image courtesy of vintageclipart.com)