Have you ever noticed how petting zoos have waaay too many goats, focusing their creepy slitted eyes on a hapless child and trampling him for a handful of dried corn. Yet, parents will heartlessly expose their children to the perils of tiny hooves in the hopes of catching that perfect Kodak moment.
My writers’ conference this weekend bore many similarities to a zoo. There was organized chaos as agents searched for that perfect book, and writer’s pitched their labors of love to agents. There were many writers in the “old” to “really old” age range. It wasn’t a pretty sight watching them plow through crowds with their rascals, attempting to make their way to an agent. Oh, the humanity!
I was on my best behavior, which is no easy task. I thoughtfully kicked the strawberry that refused to stay on my plate, under the buffet table. I managed not to belch, pass gas, or scratch at my privates for three whole days. It’s not the same as winning the Pulitzer Prize, but as a writer in the “old” category, it was quite an accomplishment just the same.
I had one critique of a portion of my book, and two pitch sessions. I managed to meet some very nice agents, two of whom took a strong interest in my book. Hooray! Then, in an ugly twist of fate I managed on all three interviews to pull instead of push. I was trapped in a room full of agents, looking like an idiot as I struggled to open the damn door. It wasn’t my finest moment.
Perhaps one of the strangest events took place after I had made the acquaintance of two women. As we talked another woman walked up to one of them and asked, “Your hair is so beautiful and silky looking. May I touch it?” She didn’t wait for a reply from my startled companion, but proceeded to pet her. She then turned her attention to my other companion and started stroking and pulling on her hair, in an unfortunate imitation of a monkey grooming her mates.
Between the besieged children, the monkey, and the old goats, my friends and I seemed like the most normal people at the conference. It just goes to show how easily you can fool people when you refrain from scratching your privates.