Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bum Fuck Egypt

My parents live in a two stop light town. Sure, there isn't much to do on a Friday/Saturday/any night. The grocery store is a maze of mismatch isles and it closes down at eight. The locals all know you by name, street address and plate number. But it's peaceful. The houses are inexpensive. And there are three dollar stores to amuse yourself with!

I'm really trying this whole "positive outlook" thing. I hear it does wonders for your attitude.

Bless the neighbors who are so concerned with your safety they put video cameras on their roof facing your house. Or the kids at the park who put on firework shows at 3 am to let you know they think you're oversleeping. Bless the blue hairs and cows, tractors and school buses who block the only road out of hell town so that you don't get a speeding ticket down the road.

I can be thankful for everything this little town has given me...

Except for my "friend," the gas station attendant. I've never been so uncomfortable getting gas in my whole life. I almost ran out one morning on the way to work because I'd rather walk my happy ass 50 miles than listen to him talk. You see, he's writing a book. He got involved with one of those self publishing scams a while ago and now he thinks he's a pro. "A modern day Twain." The con-artists actually sent him an email saying the book had reached the best sellers list!

Those of us not living in Bum Fuck Egypt know this isn't true.

But he believed.

Attendant: You off this weekend?
Tink: Yup.
Attendant: I have tomorrow off. I think I'm going to work on my novel.
Tink: Well that sounds like a lovely way to spend a day off.
Attendant: I'll bring you the first three chapters some time.
Tink: Oh. Um. Ok. *Goes to leave*
Attendant: Wait a second. *Digs around behind counter* I just so happen to have a copy with me today!
Tink: Gee. That's great.

It wasn't just a copy. It was laid out in a binder with a cover page, all prepared. He'd been waiting to make his move. The first page was nothing but descriptions of a room. He wrote in detail about where tables and chairs were placed, what they were made out of, and how they looked and felt. The next few pages described his characters. "He was of average height and build with a long winding beard and sharp blue eyes..." Blah, blah, blah. I tried not to fall asleep. Two chapters later he started into the actual story.

He writes well, albeit using the words "chided" an obsessive amount. But there's too much narrative and the story feels recycled from something Tolkien wrote. It's about a bunch of dwarves, humans, and elves that band together to fight off some evil trolls. The main character has a hammer that makes him indestructible, but when he uses it he hears sinister voices in his head. Sound familiar? Maybe it was melted down later on to forge a ring. Hmmm.

I have to bring the binder back to him tonight. Here's the problem. What do I say? Should I be honest? Should I lie to him like everyone else? Normally I would be thrilled to read someone else's writing. I know some eloquent authors (and should-be authors):
Jess. Mamalujo. Mignon. Stephen King. Ok, so I don't know King. I don't know this guy either. In fact, he creeps me out a little. The moment that binder landed in my hands I thought, "How soon can I give this back?"

So considering the nature of the writing and our relationship to each other, which is nil, should I be honest or I should I be nice and get the hell out of there?

Speaking of pushing off writing on unsuspecting victims...

DOT: Twisted Tink has been updated with a new chapter,
"One Small Step For Fairies." Sorry for the delay! I really appreciate those who have continued reading, despite my inconsistent updating. I made this chapter extra long for you. I'm still taking guesses as to what's going to happen next. No one's gotten close enough to the answer to win the personalized post.

There will be no post tomorrow. I'm taking the day off to catch up on everyone's blogs.


Thank you to everyone who came by and wished me a Happy Birthday. And thank you Jay for sending half of those well-wishers here. ;)

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38 Comments:

At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Newt said...

Yippee a new chapter. Gonna make me some coffee tonight and curl up on de couch! Does the gas station close? I would put it in an envelope with his name on it. Put a post it note that says "Good Start" and stick it "under the matt" so to speak. I'm all about avoiding the issue.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger eric said...

tell him it isn't good, but tell him why.

e+

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Jay said...

Maybe try the old start with something good, then talk about the bad, then end with something good or encouraging routine.

Or just tell him "for people who enjoy that type of story it seems pretty good".

Of course, my only reaction to this is: Do you mean that some gas station attendent half-wit has a book deal? Is it really that easy? haha

 
At 30 January, 2007, Anonymous susan said...

I was gonna say to give some kid five bucks to deliver it to him, but Newt's got a cheaper idea.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Chris said...

Yikes. Um, send Hoop in to drop it off and get gas forevermore. :)

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Peggy said...

I would have told the guy I lost the ability to read.

You could go all Simon Cowell on his ass and give him the unvarnished truth OR you could just print out this latest blog entry and tuck it into the front of the ring binder. He may then see what an uncomfortable situation he has put you in AND he'll find out that you don't think he can write that well. Just say that you've left him a note inside when you're dropping it off. It solves the problem of telling him what you really think AND you don't have to look at him as he finds out.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Anonymous mamatulip said...

First of all, belated happy birthday wishes. I'm so sorry I missed it yesterday. My Bloglines was all sorts of fucked up yesterday and I didn't see your previous post until just now. :(

About the book. God, I hate situations like that. Honestly, I'd be tempted to do what Newt said, or what Chris said. I really really would. LOL. But if you do end up having to face him in person, I'd probably say something along the lines of, "I think you've got a good storyline/plot in effect, but hook your readers from the get-go. If it were my story, I'd save the descriptions for later on in the book, once readers are settled and not going anywhere."

Good luck. I really want to hear what happens...

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Betty said...

I would put a note in the book, dash in, tell him you're in a hurry, and to read the note which says: "A very interesting approach. I'm sure afficionados of this particular genre will get a great deal of enjoyment out of reading it." In other words, dazzle him with bullshit. This should give you time to refill your gas tank three or four times while he tries to figure out what you really said.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Peevish said...

I like Betty's idea. That way you're giving him some feedback, but you don't have to stand there for forty minutes discussing it and trying not to scream.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger fiwa said...

ewww... he sounds creepy. Here's another vote for getting Hoop to take it back for you. The less interaction you have with a person like that the better.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger jinx protocol said...

First of all, I also grew up in BFE, only there was a single stop light in my hometown.

Secondly, I would approach the situation differently: I would probably make an offhand comment about how Tolkien-ish it sounded, and hopefully it would spark a conversation.

Or, you could just run in and throw it at him.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Mignon said...

If you say anything more than "It seems good - but totally not my genre" you're inviting unlimited future conversations about his 'career.'

Nip it in the bud. Tell him you only read Christian romance.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger spellconjurer said...

I would have said very brightly,,,,,"That was something! And you're sure gonna be something someday!",,,,,,just depends on who's opinion as to what that something could be! But then I'm a chicken. Bawlk Bawlk,,,,

Roses are Red
Violets are blue (no they're not they are purple)
Yesterday was your birthday
It was Oprah Winfrey's birthday too!

Hey did she send you anything? I'm gonna email her,,,tell her she might have overlooked your special day. Even if she sent you a throw pillow for your new house I bet it cost like 7,000.00 dollars. Totally.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger Lucia said...

I had this happen once, and remember just muttering some niceties when I returned the manuscript. I couldn't, just couldn't, tell him I thought it was awful.

 
At 30 January, 2007, Blogger EE said...

Ummm....UNCOMFORTABLE!!!!

I'm all about avoiding the conflict. Slip it under the door w/ a sticky, as suggested and hell or high water get gas *anywhere else* you can. LOL!

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger meno said...

I'm sending you the first three chapters of my book tomorrow!

Awkward silence.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger graymama said...

I assume paying at the pump and just leaving it there isn't an option?

Send Hoop. It is safer, and it will send the message that there won't be any future conversations between you and gas man.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger The Moody Chick said...

This is eerily familiar. My hometown has no stoplights. On my doorstop one day was a manuscript. 300 pages or so. Started reading kind of excited. Until I realized it was about killing me and taking a friend of mine hostage (she also received a manuscript). Cops were called. Guy ended up in psych ward. At some point through this there was a stack of rejection letters from actual publishers he had tried to submit the book to on my doorstep. Yah, it was insanity. Literally!

So I say be wary. Be polite. Hopefully you will not be there much longer so will not have to deal with ongoing conversations with him!

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Tink said...

UPDATE: On the way home from work last night I rehearsed over a dozen things I could say.

"It was so good I started crying and couldn't get past the first sentence." -That way he wouldn't grill me about certain sections.

"You've really captured the way an elf would feel and speak. I just don't think it's right for the HUMAN market."

Fortunately I didn't need any of them. My "friend" wasn't there. So I quickly wrote a note telling him what I thought of his story and left it with the other attendant. When I handed it over to the guy behind the counter he rolled his eyes and said, "He got you too?" *Snort*

Thank you all for your awesome suggestions! Now if I can only avoid that gas station for the next few weeks...

Moody Chick: Girl, that is SO screwed up! How did you know this guy? They're going to let you know if he ever gets released aren't they?

Graymama: The card scanners outside haven't worked for months. I think it's a ploy.

Meno: Send them over! I love your writing. Unless in real life you're a creepy gas station worker. Then we can't be friends anymore.

Spellconjuror: Nothing from Oprah. I'm hoping maybe it's delayed in the mail.

Mignon: Christian romance huh? I can only imagine:

Joseph: Oh Mary.
Mary: Oh John.
Joseph: Let's get physical in the stable.
Mary: Not before marriage.
Joseph: You didn't say that when God came knocking!

Jinx: LMAO @ "run in and throw it at him." Thanks. The mental image I got from that will play every time I see him now.

Betty: What? I'm sorry. I was dazzled for a few minutes there. ;)

Mama T: It's OK. Thanks for the belated wishes!

Peggy: I think you're on to something here! I could be the host to the nations new favorite TV show, "American Writer." We'll air it really really late in case people fall asleep watching it.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Anonymous TB said...

I'm surprised you even read the thing, but I suppose morbid curiousity got the better of you.
Since you don't know this guy and how he will react AND presumably this is the only gas station in town, you don't have to be honest.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Foo said...

The first page was nothing but descriptions of a room. He wrote in detail about where tables and chairs were placed, what they were made out of, and how they looked and felt. The next few pages described his characters.

Hrm. That sounds less like Twain than Dickens. I know the dude was prolific and his stories are classics, but man... talk about some dense exposition. I once found myself in possession of a partial set of Dickens' collected works (ca. 1920), tried to dig in and get all culturated, and kept getting blinding headaches. I finally decided that the volumes must've been from that publishing era when the pages were dusted with mercury to keep bugs from eating them.

To say "Dickens gives me a headache" isn't a knock on the man's greatness, just a statement of fact.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Foo said...

P.S. - My solution to your dilemma with the backwoods Tolkien would be to "confess" that you couldn't read his manuscript because you're illiterate and that you just can't bear to lie to him about it any longer.

If he offers to tutor you, DO NOT accept.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Gracey said...

I think there has to be a way to still be honest but polite about it. "It's a very unique story line...what an imagination you have!" and then say you have to run.

If he creeps you out in anyway, always be on your toes. Your psyche is telling you something, listen to it!

 
At 31 January, 2007, Anonymous Patsy said...

I'm new to your site. I can tell that I will be checking it frequently. The messes we find ourselves in add spice to our lives. Glad to hear that you was able to get out of the situation with out another one developing! That town of your folks sounds like a hundred that John and I have driven through on our travels - you have to watch out for ticket patrol! Be seeing you later.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger hepmomto3 said...

Well...at least he's a creep to everyone then, right? LOL Wonder how many copies he kept under that counter!?

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Arabella said...

Personally, I would lie like a rug. I think it's underrated in bizarre social settings like this. I read Miss Manners pretty faithfully, and I really don't think there's an etiquette model for how to act when your local gas station attendant asks you to read his self-publishing-scam novel. But, I'd keep it really brief, lest he get too encouraged and want to chat with you some more. Something like, "Hey, it was a good story! Here's your binder back. Fill 'er up with unleaded, please."

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Arabella said...

And, yes, I agree that you should be careful in your interactions with him if he creeps you out at all. Try to keep contact as brief and impersonal as possible. And bring Hoop along whenever you can.

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Arabella said...

Or, you could just do what I do, and talk out of your ass before you've read all the comments, since doing so would tell you that your own comment is moot.

I blame my shrinking brain.

I'm glad it worked out okay. :)

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Jess Riley said...

You are way too nice, my friend. I'm kind of stunned he would do such a thing, actually. What an uncomfortable situation. But hey, you got an amusing blog entry out of the experience! I love some of the other commenters' suggestions: "Run in and throw it at him." LOL

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger Gracey said...

Tink, Happy Belated Birthday!! Sorry I missed it; I haven't been around lately. Hope you had lots of fun on your day and Hoop gave you many, many presents....he he

 
At 31 January, 2007, Blogger gawilli said...

Happy day off...everyone needs one now and then!

 
At 01 February, 2007, Blogger Laurasia said...

Hmmm...let's see...it'd definitely be in your best interest to say, "I'll bet the chapters to come won't have ANYTHING on the three you so graciously let me read. Keep em' comin.." or something sly like that. He'll smile, you'll get a kick out of yourself, and all will be right in the world..lol

Hell, it's worth a try. What's the worse he could do? Never offer to let you read another chapter?

*snaps fingers* DRATS!!!

 
At 01 February, 2007, Blogger Jay said...

Ah, small towns. It was only inevitable that you meet up with the town crazy at some time - too bad he gave you the parting gift though.

 
At 01 February, 2007, Blogger mrspao said...

So mailing it might be an option?

 
At 02 February, 2007, Blogger Barb T. said...

I live ten miles west of BFE, 15 miles from the last stoplight. I could just picture your smalltown gas station and attendent-turned-author. How unlucky that he turns out to have the intellect of a shoelace; if it had been any good you could have offered to be his literary agent and made a fortune. Here's a thought: offer to edit it for him, turn it into something salable, and make sure you have a percentage when it makes the best seller list. He might be smarmy but he could still be a cashcow.

Belated Happy Birthday and good luck on the dental surgery. I hope they give you good drugs. Tylenol-threes and a bottle of Hershey sauce with a straw in it was what got me through my wisdom tooth episode.

 
At 03 February, 2007, Blogger mE said...

I don't *know* Stephen King, per se. But I once was at the same convention in the mid-80's, and while talking with a friend in the hall near the men's room we got treated to the aural spectacle of Mr. King loudly and enthusiastically singing "I Just Want to Bang On the Drums All Day". He was all alone in the men's room. From the noises, I suspect he was dancing in what was probably a very enthusiastically spazzy way. It was a Celebrity Hoop Moment, and it still makes me smile.

 
At 04 February, 2007, Blogger acaligurl said...

he's asking for your opinion, so its ok to give it to him. of course in the nicest way possible, the guy waited for you and seeing as he is in BFEgypt you were for sure the bright spot in his day!!

 
At 31 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only one solution: You have to but an electric car.

Montag

 

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