Oh, you're a writer?

I stopped telling people I write fantasy unless they directly ask what I write. Even then, they get that masked look on their face like they're trying their damndest to hide their disdain. That or they had a sudden bout of diarrhea they were fending off.

Any more, really, I don't like telling people I'm a writer at all. Unless I'm around other writers (and even then the dick measuring can be tiresome). The first thing people ask is whether you've written something they've read. No, because it hasn't been published yet. Then how are you a writer? Well, sir, that is an oft discussed topic and one I do not care to repeat with someone who doesn't really care but is only making small talk.

What I don't mind telling them is that I work for a publisher. I do and have been in the industry for 8+ years now. I know my craft well. BUT the first thing I have to stipulate is that I'm not in acquisitions because the first thing people say when you tell them you work for a publisher is that they have a book idea.

It's always an idea too, never a book. "I have this book I've been trying to get published." If only. "I have this idea. Maybe I could give it to you and someone could write it." Yeah, you've read plenty of other posts that properly enumerates our disdain for such comments. I won't repeat them here.

BUT, last week, I got the comments to beat all comments. There is a crazy guy that comes into Jackie's that they've dubbed El Grosso. Once he leaves, they put on rubber gloves and clean his spot at the counter, his chair, and everything near where he sat. He doesn't look crazy when he first comes in, but once he sits for a bit, he starts...leaking. Dirty tissues every, a pool of syrup on the plate the ducks could swim on, and so many other nasties that I won't bother telling you about because really, his name tells you all you need to know.

Well he asks me a question the other day. It's a closed question. Question. Answer. I know it. I tell it to him. I don't extrapolate but return to my book. Speaking to him, however, turns out to be the only invitation he needed. And now we're off to the races! Oh I work in publishing? Yes but not in acquisitions. I have a book idea. Of course you do. I work in educational publishing. We do textbooks. Oh, it could be a textbook. You'll certainly learn something if you read it. You'll learn about life!

They have that class in college? I don't think it was offered at my school.

So I have this book idea, but I'm just too lazy to write it. (At least he's honest.) You could publish it (the idea or the book? I don't think anyone will buy a printed idea). You work in Boston. I'd like to go to Boston. It would be a lot better than here. I thought about going to Oxford and giving them my book. They're smart over there. But you're here, so I'll let you publish it if you want.

I don't publish. I build the media that goes along with the textbooks. Websites, ebooks, that kind of thing.

But you know someone. Not really. You gotta know someone. I should just go over to Oxford. I could study there. Learn a lot of stuff.

Listen. You're a writer. Do you know any good universities in Las Vegas?

And I swear, not a thing of that is made up.