Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Writing Dead or Zombie or not to be?

You've heard of the Walking Dead? Well, I was a member of the Writing Dead. Zombies are hot this year. Perhaps I should write Rattlesnake Zombie. I now have had a personal experience.

Wasn't the film Day of the Dead the one took place in a shopping mall? I was at a book event featuring around twenty local authors held at an abandoned mall in the wilds of New Mexico. The only open establishment in an entire shopping center was a half empty Subway sandwich shop.

Speaking of hunger, I didn't bring any cash with me when I arrived early to set up my booth. I was hoping to make enough to buy a Chicken Teriyaki sandwich for lunch. I asked the guy at the booth next door if I could munch on one of the little dark chocolate bars on his table. He literally swiped my hand away, "Those are for readers only!" he said.

"There are no readers," I said. "There are more authors than people here."
The twenty authors eyed each other for the first hour. There weren't any readers to be had. We were all getting hungry in more ways than one. As a graduate of the University of Colorado, home of the legendary Alferd Packer Grill, I wondered if we would have to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. (Google Alferd Packer to get the joke).

Speaking of cannibalism, we had all tried to sell each other books, and none of us were buying.
"I'm not buying your book, until I sell one of mine," I said to an author. Or did she say that to me?

I have never had a book signing without a single sale, but no potential readers came the second hour and it was getting uglier for the twenty of us by the minute. That Subway sure smelled good, but it was just out of reach until I had cash. The other authors must have felt the same way. The guy with the chocolate devoured everything in his own bowl. "I thought you were waiting for the readers," I said.

"I can't wait forever," he said. "A man has to do what he can to survive."

At high noon, a slightly overweight guy came into the entrance of the shopping center--he wore a colorful scarf, did he work in an art gallery?. He had an empty satchel with him and a bulge in his back pocket indicating a fat wallet. We all were thinking the same thing...prey! He smiled as he tried to walk through the gauntlet of authors.

Bad move. Instead of zombies mumbling about brains, he passed through twenty authors mumbling about books. By that time, the zombies were probably more articulate.

"I'm just going to Subway," he said after the second author "I'm not interested."

After being manhandled by the next few authors, he literally started running past the authors' tables, grabbed a Meatball sandwich at Subway, and went out the back entrance.

Zombie or not to be? It's better to not to be. I left after that.

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