So, last night I went to back to school night at the junior high. I had to go by myself because Preteen had a Tdap shot yesterday afternoon and it made him sick, so my husband stayed home with him. While I was navigating Preteen’s schedule, I was stopped on two separate occasions by total strangers who had either read Do You Know the Monkey Man and loved it or their daughter had read Do You Know the Monkey Man and loved it. Apparently they recognized me because I’d spoken at one’s mother/daughter book group a while back and the other heard me give a presentation at one of the local libraries. Both times I just stood there not knowing what to say…because it was so unexpected.

I really need to learn how to accept a compliment. It’s not that hard…I just have to say thank you. And I did say thank you. But I felt like I should say something else…and I didn’t know what that something else was. And because I didn’t know what that something else was, I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t want to go on and on about my book…especially in the middle of the junior high. But I didn’t want to just walk away, either. (It IS very nice when a total stranger seeks you out to tell you they, or their child, enjoyed your book.) And since I didn’t know the people, I didn’t know how to turn the conversation to them (which is what I normally do if I don’t know what to say). I could’ve asked whether their child was in 7th or 8th grade and how they were enjoying junior high…I could’ve asked if their child likes to read and what other books they enjoy…what else?

If I ever meet any of you in person and I don’t say much, please realize it’s not that I’m unfriendly or uninterested…I’m actually very shy (especially in large groups and around people I don’t know). Get me talking about books or writing, though, and I may not ever shut up.

Back to school night

5 thoughts on “Back to school night

  • September 8, 2006 at 1:33 am
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    I think this is one of the best things about being a writer, that even if you are shy, people will come talk to you at parties.

    After you say “thank you” for the compliment, how about, “what else does your son or daughter like to read?” And finish up, by saying you have a new book coming out soon, and hand out a postcard with the book cover printed on the front…

    Reply
    • September 8, 2006 at 7:13 pm
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      Oh, my gosh! I don’t think I could do that last part. I’m just not good at that kind of thing…

      Reply
      • September 8, 2006 at 7:57 pm
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        Like everything in life, it gets easier (and better) with practice.

        Reply
  • September 8, 2006 at 7:12 pm
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    Re: what to say

    I LOVE Bull Durham! But I don’t remember that scene…it’s been a while since the last time I’ve seen it.

    Reply

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