Friday, December 6, 2013

The Things Writers Do

Some of the things I have done make me cringe. Take the time I barged into the winner of the National Book Awards home on a cold day in November with a copy of my small press novel to have him give me a blurb. Where did I get that kind of nerve? He came to the door after his wife stared at the guy in cowboy boots and a long coat and I told him I seen him in the Chicago Tribune and that I was a writer and I wondered if he would give me some pointers or comment on my book.

Yeeeesh. I cringe thinking about what he must have thought. But he invited me in and we sat in his study while he told me the plot of his second novel for the next hour. I sat there with a half smile and listened to him talk about literature and about reading the bible and then it was time to go. I left him my book and I think he said he would look at it. I think I even called him back and he said something like good luck with the book and that was that.

Fast  forward three years later after my second book and a good bit of publicity and a three book deal with Random House. I am sitting in the basement of a library at a kids table in a kids chair with my knees up and and there is another man sitting there. He does not recognize me. We both took the hundred dollar stipend for talking to children about our process of writing. After a few moments he picked up my book and stared at the name and then turned to me.

I owe you an apology he said. I shook my head. No you don't. I owe you one for barging in like that. We talked a little and then after the library thing ended he shook my hand. I hope you make a million dollars he said.  And that was that. I saw him one more time on the streets of Chicago outside Columbia University where I was teaching. He walked by and stared at me...but my name had escaped him by then.
The Pitcher....Sometimes a dream is all you have

Books by William Hazelgrove