A few months ago, I attempted to make a quick trip to Barnes and Noble. I know how can any trip to Barnes and Noble be quick if you are a book lover? I was limited on time and knew one book I specifically wanted and another I knew the type, but not the title.
Anyway, I dash in and start thumbing through alphabetically by author. I get to about the third shelf, and some guy starts small talk. He asks my opinion on some book. I give it and think that’s the end of it., but no he’s not finished yet. Dang it, I do NOT have time to chat with someone I know much less a stranger. I want to get my books and leave. “Are you a writer?” he asks. Can he not see I am trying to concentrate? Still, I don’t want to be rude.
I tell him no. Then I think better of it and add, “Well, I do write, but I haven’t published a book.” Big mistake. He starts to tell me that he is going to be a famous author, way bigger than Stephen King or John Grisham. I tell him that’s great and good luck, and walk away even though the book I need is in that section. He follows me continuing to tell me his plans. So much for a quick and fruitful trip, I think. He goes on to ask me if I know which genre sells the best and what is the most important factor in writing. I tell him no (to me writing is not about making money but the love of the craft) to the first question and answer talent and skill for the second. He tells me I am wrong that the best selling books are romance which puts it at the top of most important factors. He continues to tell me that he is going to be the first mystery/romance novelist. I haven’t the heart to tell him he would not be the first, but I try to keep walking. And I find his attitude cocky, not refreshing. Finally I ask him how long he has been writing and he answers that he hasn’t even started yet, but he had been researching and found that out and is ready to begin. Now, I am irritated that I have some newbie trying to give me advice with the pretense that he’s asking for it. I want to tell him it isn’t as easy as he thinks, but instead I ask him his name and say I’ll remember it for when he beomes famous. I tell him good luck again. I still don’t get the other book I want. Dang annoying man.
I forget his name even before I get to my car. I leave feeling quite annoyed and intruded upon. All I had wanted was a few minutes to myself to get a small errand accomplished. All I had managed to do was become frustrated. Then I feel badly for having been so annoyed at him. I could have been more helpful. Maybe, I should have basked in his enthusiasm and caught the creativity bug. Why do I not feel inspired? Am I capable of approaching writing with that kind excitement and confidence? Maybe, I can learn something from this encounter.
And then I wonder if that was some kind of bookstore pick up line, and I was just too stupid to catch it. And if it wasn’t and he becomes famous, I won’t know his name to claim he once tried to pick me up in a bookstore.