“Can you do me a favor?”
Really, there are few phrases that inspire the same level of dread in one’s stomach. I think that “can you do me a favor?” ranks up there with “we need to talk” in the realm of loaded phrases. There are few people in the world that can pull “Can you do me a favor” and know that my answer will be “yes” without any hesitation or pause. But Thursday evening, one of those people asked me that question.
“Hey Melissa, can you do me a favor?”
“Of course I can.”
This is how I ended up in a Regency era ballgown with an elaborate wig and a face full of makeup on my day off. I was asked to help with the launch of one my dear friend Melissa Damon‘s debut novel, Stalkers. I’m extremely proud of her, so I wanted to show my support, even if that meant showing my support in a ball gown and a wig. Though, to be fair… it doesn’t take much coaxing to get me into a ball gown.
We were going to a small annual event hosted by Sarge’s Comics in New London, CT. Its called “Free Comic Book Day,” and just in case you were wondering, they weren’t handing out fishing tackle. The shop is intimate, but the selection they have for any fan of science fiction, horror, anime, fantasy, comics, graphic novels or role play was formidable. Growing up in a household where Star Trek was a religion, the geek within me is strong.
I leaned against the glass case, with a quickly merchandised display of the paperbacks available for sale and some wonderful printed material about Melissa, her site and her book. What I really wasn’t prepared for was the people I would meet at this convention. Being that Sarge’s was a small store, I didn’t really expect the cross section that we were able to see. Many local artists and vendors had set up booths. Some were drawing caricatures on demand, others selling their own self-published books and comics and even more getting recognition for other local stores and businesses. The event was well-attended by people of all ages: men and women, girls and boys, many in costume but all fans of some aspect of the store.
The conversation that struck me, and the reason for this post was a conversation I had with a little boy of about nine.
I had come around the corner after an engaging conversation with Darth Vader (who’s name was Bill) to meet this little boy. He looked at me, with these amazing green eyes and a face filled with star-struck awe and asked me, “Are you an author?”
I smiled gently, informing him that Melissa was the author. I told him that I loved to write, but that I hadn’t written a book. So once I finished the book, I could be an author. Til then, I was just a writer. He smiled at me with this unadulterated optimism and says to me, “Then I’m a writer, too!”
We had a wonderful conversation in which he told me about the story he was writing. He had such enthusiasm about his characters and the story he was weaving. He had already written two whole pages. We talked about his favorite books and we talked about the story. I told him that it was really great that he already had such wonderful ideas about the book. He also, told me I was really cool and gave me a high-five.
He asked me if I had any advice. I told him that no matter what, he should keep writing. I told him to write what he wanted to write and to write because he loved it. I told him to keep working at it because it made him happy, and that the hard part was already done, since he already had such great ideas.
After we finished talking, I watched him run off to his older brother. He grabbed his older brother’s arm and pointed back towards me, grinning like he had just met a celebrity. His brother raised a hand in thanks, and I offered a small smile and a nod in return.
I kept thinking about this discourse earlier this afternoon, now almost eight hours later, it still stayed with me. That level of commitment and passion for creating something at that young age. I admired his parents and teachers for encouraging that creativity and I was happy to, for a small moment, to share in the joy of our shared craft; even if separated by thirteen years.
I was so touched to have been able to be a positive influence on this little boy that I wanted to make sure that I took my own advice and kept working on the story. I have wonderful people in my life who support me. The only thing in the way is my ability to procrastinate.