I met Darrel Adkins, the promoter for MACC, over breakfast backstage. The man had a walkie-talkie in his ear, a cell phone that went off every minute or so and a couple of beepers. He went over some paperwork and the ground rules. I listened intently. I had a notion if I was gonna do as the Romans do this was Caesar.
As I got to leave he said, “Son, I’d like to sit and visit. They’ve got me kinda busy.”
“Yes sir, I understand.” The man was pulled in more directions than a country doctor on Monday morning. “Thanks for having me.”
He smiled and waved as he answered his cell phone.
Irene Lehmann led me to our site and parked us right under a large shade tree. “The boss said to hitch old Tenbrooks in the shade. You’re gonna be here three days and it’s supposed to get to 100.”
“Darin and Brooke will be right next door. MACC wanted you to feel at home.”
Hm. He’s read my blog. I’m gonna be next door to old friends. “Tell the man thanks.”
The first day of MACC was a whirlwind. I met all kinds of people; radio personalities, surveyors, a urologist, mechanics, a nuclear scientist, software gurus, tennis players, golfers, and of course lots of mandolin players and bluegrass pickers. Many of them had read my blog. Some were only curious as to what a physician bluegrass fiction writer might look like and others wanted to buy “The Mandolin Case,” and get it signed. They were all different, and yet in many ways just the same.
One was just like me and about my age. His mama also put him in a speed reading class as a kid. “Finished the book by lunch!” He came by to give me a thumbs-up. He found the one serious typo that still bugged me, and inked in a correction and dated it. “Makes it a collector’s item, Dr. B.” Cool guy.
Another fellow walked by and grinned. “Stopped at page four for now Doc, but I’ll get back to it. Good book.”
I heard from my agent last night and we had made to #60 in legal mysteries in Britain. I thought that was pretty good in the land of Sherlock Holmes. I figure the Brits know a thing or two about mystery books – by the way much of our music came from across the pond too. If you live in Britain, and have any trouble finding it, here’s the link: Go to the page at Amazon.com and click on GREAT BRITAIN http://www.amazon.co.uk/
I continue to be humbled by the whole journey. Some time back one fellow told me he wrote literary fiction and he didn’t think so much of commercial fiction.
As I sat in the shade at MACC, I thought of him. I wanted to tell him mine hadn’t even made commercial grade yet, although MACC was shaping up pretty good. I’ll get to give a little to the cause, meet a bunch of new people, and come home with a few dollars more than I started out with, and this done paid for catfish sandwich was as good as home.
I recall this man told me my book was a bit too common for his taste. He was somewhat resentful the public wasn’t more supportive of his work.
I read some of his, and have to agree; it was quality literature. He’s a better writer than I am, and that doesn’t bother me. I listened to his complaints for a while and think I figured it out, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
I wanted to say, “Well, sir. You’re a fine writer. I’m not sure why not enough folks have read your book. The only thing I can say is maybe you wrote over everybody’s head. We all have our expertise. If I write too much about idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis, I’ll bore people to death. By the same token my car mechanic could write a novel about hot rods in a such a technical way I’d not be able to understand it.” I held my peace, though.
The way I saw it, this man wrote his book to show people how much smarter he was than everyone else. I wrote mine to try to show how we are all the same; and after ten years I’m just getting started on the project.
I debated a call to invite him to MACC. I dug into my ice cream for a moment, then reconsidered and decided against it. I was off and very relaxed. I didn’t want to ruin the mood and have to get in any kind of crazy debate today.
I remember a fellow I knew in med school. He was the smartest cat I ever met in any genre. He was so smart he never bragged about it, and I never saw him get drug into an argument on the subject, either.
Maybe I can get this writer to send some money to the cause, though. How can anyone argue with raising money for children with cancer? That is one issue no one can debate, so I’m gonna sit back and take it all in. I’m just too old to argue about anyone’s intellectual superiority, and besides I’ve already met plenty of people smarter than me in life; there ain’t much to prove there. I’ll just have to be me and let it go at that; it’s all I’ve got.