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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