At a recent author event a woman came up and examined my book for a while. In an effort to create a friendly connection, I asked her if she was a writer. She replied by snarling,”I’d rather clean a cat box than write!” Before I could respond she walked briskly away.
I did not get the sense that she meant by this that she enjoyed cleaning cat boxes. I wonder why she even stopped to check out my display and read my book in the first place. She could have just walked right past from my table, which is what I generally do when I see a cat box, but she didn’t. Did she need to remind herself that she hated writing more than cleaning up cat waste?
After she left, the next person to approach my display was a man who read the subtitle of my book out loud.”Bring Your Writing Back to Life?” he bellowed incredulously. He looked at me and said,”Why would I want to do that? I killed it off a long time ago!” Before I could respond he walked briskly away.
If I had to guess, both of these people had some hopes and desires about writing that were squashed at some point in their lives, and I felt a bit sad. I suppose the lesson of these two encounters is that in writing, and in cat boxes, shit happens. Sooner or later we have to clean it up.