Of groupies, fanboys, and...Why do I even bother?

A lot of male authors are supposedly inundated by masses of groupies. Battalions of nubile sweet young things throw themselves at the gods of the keyboard. They walk into a con suite and faster than they can conjugate a verb, they're propositioned in six languages and hues (some of them even of legal age).

To which I say a hardy "Pshaw!" Perhaps it's something about me (please, Lord, don't let it be that!), but mostly what I seem to attract are 30+ year old fanboys smelling of Clearasil and a notable lack of Right Guard or Irish Spring. The first thing out of their mouth is, "Ooh, ooh, I love yer stuff!" (Not a bad beginning of a conversation.) This followed by, "I write, draw, basket weave, greased pole climb--what have you--too!" Line number three ensues, "How do ya break into the business?" (Son, if ever I find out, rest assured, you'll be the 234th to know.) He then launches into a presentation on the GREAT WORK of his life (usually in genre I either have absolutely no experience in or that I hate so much that I break out in purple and green spots). He expounds the entire plot of his six volumes; the main, secondary, and tertiary characters' motivations (including why the protagonist's mother's unthinking actions that particular Christmas all those years ago drive the plot); and how his elves/stardrive/magic system is truly original and how it all keys off his D&D characters. It must be admitted that this young Hugo winner of the future actually is talented--he is able to communicate all of this information as he escorts one down the hall at a walk, at the trot, at the canter, at the gallop--forward!--from the function rooms to, hopefully, a friend's room--never, never let them find your true lair. And as the door is slammed in his face, he asks if he can send the fugitive his manuscript as soon as he has it all written down.

As for the female of the species, the groupie, the closest I've come to attracting them was the rather shop-worn wife of a fellow scribbler who made a pass at me that I put down to either incipient insanity or sunstroke (there was the occasional glint of sunlight between the snow squalls that day). Of course I manfully rejected her advances because it would have been a mortal sin for both of us (adultery); besides, who knew where she had been; and the wife was just out of earshot buffing her gladius--hell nor the Defense Department hath a fury like a ticked-off Irish woman.

The preceding is what soured me on the writers' life and explains why I have done my level best not to become a known author (something at which I have been frighteningly successful).

There now, who sez I can't write fantasy?

One of those conversations:


Me: "Hello?"

#1 Son: "Dad, what temperature do you broil a chicken on?"

Me: "Uh, I don't know, how about 'Broil?'"

#1 Son: "Okay. Where do I put it in the oven?"

Me: "Is the stove gas or electric?"

#1 Son: "Electric."

Me: "Okay, put the broiler pan about four to six inches from the top element."

#1 Son: "It won't fit."

Me: "Pardon?"

#1 Son: "The chicken won't let me put it that close."

Me: "Uh, son? Is the chicken cut up?"

#1 Son: "No. Should it be?"

Me: "Yep. Unless you have a rotisserie."

#1 Son: "Okay, thanks, Dad. Bye."


#1 Son: "Dad? I can't cut up the chicken."

Me: "I don't suppose it's still frozen?"

#1 Son: "Uh, yeah."

Me: "Okay, do you have a microwave?"

#1 Son: "No, Ted took it with him when he moved to his new place.'

Me: "Okay, put the chicken down in the refrigerator. It should be thawed by this time tomorrow. Do you something else to eat?"

#1 Son: "No, I'll have to go to the store."

Me: "Alright, tip for you--always try to have some hot dogs and buns handy in case something like this happens in the future. Okay?"*

#1 Son: "Yeah. Thanks, Dad. Bye."

I think I know why I'm gray. It ain't the years, it's the having kids.

* Our lady of dragons counseled me that I really should introduce him to that other staff of single life--Ramen Noodles, succor of twenty-somethings the world over.

13 September 2010: Feast of St. Amatus. Belisarius defeats Vandals at Battle of Ad Decimium in North Africa 533 AD, British capture Quebec 1759, Los Ninos Heroes killed defending Chapultepec 1847, Lee's orders found by Federals before Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) 1862, second day of Battle of Bloody Ridge (Edson's Ridge) on Guadalcanal 1942, first hard drive-IBM RAMAC 305-introduced 1956.

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