Open Wounds

The Nose Knows

st-armands-circle-shopping.JPG (21340 bytes)St. Armands in Sarasota.

The Circle Book Store – the only independent book store in the area.

I stopped in with Max and Karen, looked at the YA section – searched for Michael Grant’s Gone (it’s next on my list) and finally, when the register was clear, wandered over to say hello to the bookseller in charge.

I had brought a copy of my book and surreptitiously signed it. I was ready.

I chatted a bit about the book, gave her my pitch and all the usual accompanying information about availability at Ingrams and Baker & Taylor. She smiled at me and seemed interested then said, “It sounds good. I think I’ll read it first myself.”

My job was done.

I walked over to where Karen was looking at a book and gave her the thumbs up. She stopped for a second and looked at me. She stared at my face.

“What?” I said, leaning in close.

“What’s that big pen mark down the middle of your nose?”

“What pen mark?”

“You had that on when you talked to her, didn’t you?” she asked.

I nodded and wiped the mark off. “It’s off now?”


And so it goes…

6 responses

  1. I feel quite certain that a person who runs an indie bookstore is open to things like authors who write so much so often that they get pen marks and stuff in weird places. Even if they use word processors. I bet you got high marks for earnestness and sincerity and authenticity, all of which would be true whether you had an endearing ink mark on your nose or not.
    I am so glad you are reading GONE. My students love it. I do, too.
    I once did a Back-to-School night in the late 80’s. I wore really big shoulder pads because that’s what you did to Show Professional Womanhood and whatever. I also looked like I was fourteen and needed all the authority I could muster. I was nervous and sweaty and swanned around in front of the classroom for three hours before I realized that one of the ginormous shoulder pads had detached, descended, and protruded from my chest like a third mammary gland. A very aggressive, unnervingly large third mammary gland.
    Or maybe the head of an emerging partial twin, or an alien.
    It was a very interesting way to begin my career in a new community.

    February 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    • I’ve been looking forward to reading something from Michael Grant for a while. My son read the two books in the Magnificent 12 series and he was very disappointed when we found out he wasn’t writing any more of that series. He loved it (ie: laughed out loud repeatedly). He’ll want to read Gone so I’ll actually have to hide it from him because I need to read it first and check on its content. I have to keep reminding him he’s only 9 almost 10. God how did that happen so fast?

      As for the shoulder pads… these are the kinds of things its always good to laugh at later, when they become stories and legends that work their way into the lives of our characters. I’ve had so many things like that happen to me over the years as a public speaker (from my fly being open – always difficult to put behind you – to bringing a lavlier microphone into the bathroom – don’t get me started) that both my wife and I are used to them by now. Mostly. These days its pen marks and stains on my shirt. Yes, it could be much worse. And yes, I do remember the eighties, very well. And I’m glad I didn’t have to wear shoulder pads.

      February 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

  2. Hah! Probably from the sharpie you signed the title page with, eh?

    February 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

    • Bingo. And having no ink on my fingers I’m at a loss to explain how the mark got there. It is a puzzlement.

      February 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

  3. I love those “public speaking malfunction” stories. A mic in the bathroom! I have one about a cat’s hairball on a skirt–we’ll save it for another day when we need a laugh. Shoulder pads were good for some things. The ones with velcro were good for gentle cleaning jobs. Or you could cut them in half and put them in shoes for blisters.

    Your son is nine? I haven’t known you for that long, but that doesn’t seem quite possible.
    I have in my head that he is six. Six.

    I know from experience that you don’t need to have ink on your hands to get it on your face. Or clothes. I’m gifted that way.

    You may not have had to wear shoulder pads, Joe, but it was an era of highly flammable clothing. And disco. I think we all suffered in our own ways.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    • I have only two words to say. Leisure suit. Now let’s never mention those words again. All the best, Joe

      February 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm

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