Today I’ve mostly been trying to get better. But I did go to the Metropolitan Opera House for a backstage tour and, possibly, made a massive error.
I was there because the protagonist in my third novel is going to go and work there briefly so I needed to spy on them. It was brilliant, actually; incredibly informative and useful. I was in heaven until a really lovely, well-heeled lady from Manhattan asked me why I was making so many notes.
I explained that I was a novelist. (I still feel like such a twonk saying this. I expect people to nod politely and say things like mmm, yes, of course you are!)
She was really excited that I was a novelist and asked if I had a business card. I produced one. My cards have an image of my first novel, The Greatest Love Story of All Time, on them. She asked me to sign the image. I did so, explaining that actually I was a nobody and that it would not get her anywhere in life having a Lucy Robinson signature on a business card.
But she ignored me and instead told me that she ran a book club and was going to get my book for the group to discuss.
And at this I blanched.
I don’t read reviews of my books on Amazon. I have skin like rice paper and am prone to suicidal behaviours if my book is described as anything less than ‘TRANSCENDENTALLY EXTRAORDINARY’ or ‘GRIPPING, MASTERFUL AND PEERLESS.’ However it was brought to my attention early on that there was a fair amount of Amazon reader criticism regarding my excessive swearing. And here’s a thing: I was astonished. I hadn’t even realised it was a potty-mouthed book. That’s how potty-mouthed I actually am. As in, full, post-breakfast, sit down and have a good old dump potty.
So you can imagine my horror when I gave this poor unsuspecting woman my card. She’s American! They hate cursing, let alone profanity! My book is riddled with phrases like ‘oh my flaming bollocking Jesus‘ and ‘I told God to go and fuck off’ in my novel!
This woman is not a good match for my book. And her book club is even less of a match. The very thought of them sitting in some upper West Side salon, stunned into collective silence as they scrabble around for one nice thing to say about my book, makes me want to weep. Or to break into their literary salon and create a diversion by pelting them all with canapes and stealing all copies of my book in the ensuing chaos.
They won’t find one nice thing to say about my book. It is not for them.
I spent the entire backstage tour planning a diplomatic speech outlining the book’s unsuitability for her book club; then when it came to an end she somehow vanished and I found myself sitting on a bog in the Lincoln Centre wondering if I could ban all exports of my book to the States.
A difficult moment.
Now, I also went to a Hip Hop church service today, but that’s another story for another time. I just wanted to end on a note that would re-fool you into thinking that I’m interesting and cool.
PS. No coffee picture today. In fact, no anything picture. I’m shit.