I received a wonderful compliment. Yesterday I stopped by the trendy little boutique in GSO called Rag Poets. I'd dropped my book off there two weeks ago and was following up to see if they want to carry it or not. The owner wasn't there, but the woman I had left the book with was there as was another sales woman. When the second woman found out I was the author of the book, her eyes lit up.
"Oh my Gawd," she said in a southern accent. "I sat right down in that chair and read your book and I was howling." She gave me a measured look. "And I'm a harsh critic." The younger sales girl nodded. They went on to say they'd had "story time," during a slow period in the store and took turns reading my stories out loud to one another. The harsh critic woman also mentioned she didn't even have cats, but found the stories applicable to anyone who had pets.
Naturally, I was floating on air when I left. There is no feeling like knowing your words made someone laugh out loud. I think what I experience with writing must be like a mini-dose of what stand-up comics experience on stage. There's a feeling of power that comes with making people laugh. It's exhilarating.
But life is not all wines and roses. I popped in on another store where I'd left my book and really stuck my foot in my mouth. I had called the store the day before and the woman didn't know who I was or anything about my book. (I had left the book with a college student working the counter who promised to get it to the owner). She said she'd look around for it. Since I was in the area yesterday, I thought why not just stop in and see if she's found it and, if not, drop off a new copy.
So I go in and a sales clerk takes me to the manager and I say, "Hi, I'm Dena Harris. We spoke yesterday on the phone. I'm the one with the book that didn't ring a bell and you had no memory of." I grinned, to show I could take a joke at my own expense--that my book was so easily forgettable.
Instead, looking embarrassed, the woman said, "I apologize. I've had almost no short-term memory since my cancer treatments last year."
Sinkhole, God. Please. Swallow me now.
There really isn't a graceful way out of that situation. Feeling like a complete loser, I apologized for my comment, mumbled something about her looking at the book I'd brought her and I'd be in touch, and I fled the store.
I don't know about you, but I'm thinking "no sale." Will I ever learn??