Thursday, March 23, 2017

Other Cool People

Zestful Blog Post #204

When On Location, my third Rita Farmer novel, came out, I was invited to participate in a local book festival. As it happened, an author buddy of mine was there too, and we agreed to have dinner together after the main booksigning event. A Fairly Famous Author was on hand as well, and we all mingled and visited during autograph evening.

Come time to get organized for dinner, my friend and I approached the FFA and invited him to join us. Scanning the room beyond us and looking uncomfortable, he said, “Uh, I think I’m gonna eat with some—other cool people.”

We got the translation: “I don’t have firm plans yet. I just barely caught myself and inserted the word ‘other’ in front of ‘cool people’ in order to mask what I really mean, which is, I’m going to eat with some cool people as yet to be determined by me. You are not those people. I’ll give you the half-assed courtesy of implying you are cool. But, clearly, you, Elizabeth and X, are not cool.”

[The coolest photo I could find in my files: cool people photographing a large cool object. It was indeed a cool day.]

So, fine. We invited another couple of people to join us, one an author, the other a writing coach. The four of us had a riot getting to know one another, talking and eating (and yeah, drinking) late into the night. We discussed writing, books, and our careers with frankness and warmth. By the end of the night, we were all friends. As it turned out, we were Cool People. We were even Nice People: We didn’t even bother to give the ceremonial finger to the FFA.

Three takeaways here:

One: Writing can be lonely, and we can dwell in our heads to the detriment of our hearts and sanity, therefore it’s important to get out of the house and hang with your fellow sufferers. Suddenly a stunning thing happens: Nobody’s suffering!

Two: When declining an invitation—especially when you can’t honestly say you already have plans—simply say, “I’m sorry, I can’t. Thanks, though.” How hard is that?

Three: You are a Cool Person. I said so.

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  1. My father always told me it's good manners to ask others that seem alone to have lunch with you at an event. Or dinner. If I asked and they said no that was one thing but to blow someone off as not worth their time...just too rude for words.

  2. BJ, you are such a faithful commenter!! XXOO. Yeah, that was a funny moment, all right. Good thing we were out of junior high and could laugh about it instead of getting suicidal...

  3. Elizabeth, you are indeed, a Cool Person. I attended a writing conference last year, all by myself, and when I asked if I could sit at the dinner table with you and several others, you all welcomed me with open arms. I had the best time! I knew you were a Cool Person because you gave a Cool Workshop and by your Cool, Kind actions, you walked your talk. Great post, and pooey on those rude folks who don't know the value of kindness and adventure.

  4. Bev! Thanks!! And Bellina, how lovely to share your memory of a cool situation. One might also think here of 'bread on the waters,' or 'what goes around comes around....' I'm glad you stopped by, and I hope all the people I inadvertently snubbed won't chime in...

  5. Thanks for this post. A good reminder that cool, also means likeable. You are likeable.

  6. Awesome Cool Post and as I head out into the world of other cool people it will be a guide and a shield. You are the Miss Manners of Cool!

  7. Liz, Cheryl, Dina, thanks for your most kind/supportive/cool words! Rock on.


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