Monday, June 20, 2011

Didn't you used to be Clive Cussler?

 You are standing in the lobby, magnanimously sharing your lunch with Fred Klein.  It is a turkey and cheese sandwich, a bag of chips, an apple and two chocolate brownies.  It was actually Fred's lunch, his payment for being ombudsman at the writers' conference, but you, thinking all the workshop leaders were to be given such boxes, had got to it first, thus your chutzpah in offering to share your lunch with him. 

You are approached by a man who asks you to please autograph the book he has just purchased.  Fred has already scoped the title of the book, telling the man, "Mr. Cussler does not give autographs while he is eating lunch."

Thus you were mistaken for Clive Cussler.  Moments later, in another part of the lobby, a lady asks you to autograph a book she has just purchased.  This time you are mistaken for your pal,Barnaby Conrad.

While chatting moments later with your friend and fellow workshop leader, Duane Unkefer,another workshop leader approaches you and asks you what the possibilities are that you have her on your radio program. When you explain to her in polite terms that you do not have a radio program and have never had a radio program, she declaims in a loud,shrill voice,"All you had to do was say you were booked.  You do not have to fuck with my head."  Whereupon she storms off.

Your pal, Jim Alexander, working as a volunteer, approaches you with the information that one of the conference attendees is foisting himself off as you.  "That would be Dan, the owner of The Cafe Luna, whom I have given my badge."  "No, no,"  Jim says.  "We know him.  This is someone we do not know."

You are in fact carrying with you the ID badge of your literary agent, which you will give to the publicist of your publisher when she arrives.

A serious looking woman of perhaps fifty has approached you twice, asking you if she should know who you are, and another man you don;t think you have ever seen before has thanked you for doing such a fine job, editing his novel.

This is still early in the conference for such existential high jinks; the pace has not yet accelerated and yet there are these issues and discrepancies with identity.  Where better than at a gathering of individuals who invent identities?

You find yourself chatting with a woman who has asked for advice.  You need a more detailed biography for your lead character, you tell her, aware that you are in a strong sense adding to the disconnect of invention.

Another woman approaches you, motioning a photographer to approach.  She asks if you will be kind enough to allow yourself to be photographed with her so that her friends back home will believe her when she tells them she has seen you in person.  As the photographer motions the two of you to get closer, the woman asks you why you have decided to shave off your goatee.  You do some quick calculations as you assess who it is she has mistaken you for.  Tom Boyle will be amused when he hear the story.  You smile at the lady.  "At about the time I decided to give my red Converse tennies a rest," you tell her, and the photographer flashes away.

It is only afternoon of day three.

What new adventures await?

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