I arrived in Tucson Arizona on Saturday March 14th around 7 p.m. after a 10-hour drive, 1- hour trapped in traffic (video of drive below). I order room service and decided I needed to get some sleep as I knew the 15th would be busy. Wake: Festival, then another drive for 6.5 hours.
I had fallen asleep but was woken, at 3 a.m., by a loud thump. Honestly it sounded like someone had picked up another human being and thrown them against the wall. Shouting was heard, followed by screaming, right above me. (I always stay on the ground level of hotels). Three people were fighting. Two men and a woman. The violence reached a fever pitch, and just as I am thinking: Oh, I should probably call the police, the woman managed to reach the door and runaway (that is how loud they were, I could hear everything they were doing). One of the the men shouted after her saying something like, "F- you Jenny! Don't come back! We are over!" And so I think: Oh good, the girl is gone. Needless to say I took awhile to fall back asleep, but around 5 a.m. the hotel was surrounded by ten cop cars, and soon enough the area was taped off.
At this point I get out of bed, get dressed, and head toward the lobby, where everyone is a buzz. I ask the front desk clerk what happened and all he said, over and over again was: Everything is fine, everything is fine. Well that was of no help. I grab some coffee and walk around, trying to assess what happened, that is when a couple walked by and whispered that a girl was murdered. My heart sank. I promptly went back to my room, and sat down. -- Why did she come back? She had gone away! - - Now try as I might, I can't find any information on the internet I will continue to look to confirm, nevertheless, something very bad happened right above me...leaving me feeling like...I need to get out of this hotel.... And the question of: Why? Why are people so violent toward each other.
Lucky me I was scheduled for 10:15, so I packed up and left for the Festival of Books.
Bully: Now I understand that sometimes it is hard to be nice and polite while you are sitting under the blazing sun for 2-hours. I understand that this particular Author had some expectations that were not met....but....I call it like I see it: Bully you were! There we are 10-Authors: 10 different genres: I was booked under Thrillers: Psychological. The first hour: only a hand-full of people walked by. The sun seemed relentless, and 4 of the authors (all newbies, as in: this was their first published novel) were getting restless and probably nervous. I was lucky, I was sitting next to a well established author and we chatted back and forth about the possible murder at the hotel and wondered: Why did the girl come back?
Another fifteen minutes went by and I thought: I will have to draw the few people in. So I stood up and started engaging people. I brought them over, gave them a pen and candy and talked about my book. I was a regular car salesman. (At least this is what my bully author started calling me behind my back...quiet enough to act like she was just talking to her fellow panel of authors--but loud enough for me to hear)
I sold a few books, and then a military gentleman walked over and I talked and laughed with him for about 10-minutes...This is when she really got mad at me. And when he walked off with the promise to share my book with his fellow army mates....She said really loud: "Oh, I'm sorry. I am an author, not a salesman. I didn't write my book just to become a sleazy salesman."
I turned around and just looked at her. I get it. I hate the tutorials that help authors "trick" people into buying their piece of crap book, from using the right color scheme, to advertising, to down right trickery. But let's face it...Being at a book festival and just sitting on a panel of "authors" staring into space, not engaging anyone...well...It is kind of creepy. The Author next to me said not to worry about it and I let it slid off my back, no worries...
The big question, as our time closed, was: Where was everyone? I talked to about 40 people. My fellow veteran novelists all agreed: We should have easily talked to 200. Well I packed up, paid my sales tax and sought out the answer.
What was the answer? Where was everyone? I'll give you a name:
If you don't recognize the name, click on the above link, I am sure you will recognize his face. He is a Master of the Written Word. Over 90 books and more. An activist, philosopher, a man of knowledge and of great insight. His line was so long it wrapped around an entire building and I would dare say nearly a thousand people were in the line. As much as I like to toot my own horn, I am not in the league of Mr, Chomsky. Basically it is like an actor in a local theater play competing with Brad Pitt.
The big BUT... I am fine with that. Mr. Chomsky deserved the turn out he has worked over forty years building. And honestly, if I had the time, I would have loved to have met the guy, but alas I had a seven hour drive ahead of me, which I am sure his line was going to take about that long to get through. Advice; Know who is signing a book at your allotted time slot.
Final Thoughts: While I get that being a writer changes some people, it hasn't changed me. I like talking to people, listening to their stories and talking to them about mine. I talked to 40 people, found out the best places to stay, how to save up for a vacation to Venice Italy, school life, friends, talked to a morose girl about her college life, and what others like to read....While my bully friend only talked to her fellow authors and said maybe a handful of words to people who asked about her work. Needless to say the poor girl sold zero books :( ... In the end, we should not let "society" or "stereotypes" about a job define who we are. To be honest a lot of people use to think authors were reclusive people who drank too much and were antisocial. But does this describe ALL authors? Can't we be a little of both antisocial and very social when need be? And really, does getting your book published somehow make you a better person? How rude of her to say that salesmen are sleazy....While certainly some are...not all fit into this category. And really, she was implying that a salesman was worth less than an author...hmm.... what a rude thing to say.
While it is really easy to define a person by their job or lot in life, I choose to talk to everyone, listen to their stories, and I think life should be full of diversity and beauty and not based on rigid stereotypes.
All in all I had a lovely trip and did some deep thinking and will share some more thoughts later. As always have a beautiful day!!!!! And thanks to all those who took the time to talk to me!!! XOXO
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