Monday, March 19, 2012

Still doing that "Writer Thing"

While our wonderful Kate Collins finishes the last part of writing her manuscript--rewrites, copy edits and even more edits--we are fortunate to have Julie Hyzy, who writes two cozy series, join us for a few weeks. Many of you are probably familiar with her White House Chef series as well as her Manor House Mysteries. We welcome Julie while we await Kate's return. (We do miss our Kate!)

I never expect people to be rude. Never. And thus, I'm never prepared for it and I do a terrible job at reacting properly. I'm polite to the Nth degree. It's ingrained and my default mode. Can't help it - though sometimes I wish I could. Like for instance, just about two weeks ago...


I'd been invited to participate in a panel at a conference in downtown Chicago and, rather than drive, I decided to take the train. In the crowded station that morning, I ran into a male friend, a gregarious guy who used to be part of the writing group I belonged to. Let's call him Fred. Fred's warm, funny, and genuinely nice. My husband really likes him, too and we're hoping to all get out to dinner soon together. All good, right?

Well, as Fred and I chatted, I encountered someone else I knew. She's mom to a couple of my daughters' friends, and she and her husband have always seemed like nice people. We have a friendly (or so I thought) relationship.


She stood and gave me the "Aren't you going to introduce me?" look after sizing up my male companion. I did, referring to him as "a friend." She started asking questions about where I was headed and why I was taking the train today. Honestly, from the glint in her eye and the smirk on her face, I think she thought that Fred and I were on our way to some sordid tryst. When I explained that I was appearing on a panel at a conference, she wrinkled her nose and said, "Oh, so you're still doing that writing thing, huh?" -- this accompanied by dismissive finger wiggling. Like tickling the air. Hard to explain, but it felt dismissive.

This is the wonderful quilt Dru Ann Love
made for me to commemorate
my first appearance on the
New York Times Bestseller list!
Isn't it gorgeous?
How did I respond? I smiled (polite, ugh!!) and said, yes, I was still writing.

At that point Fred -- who looked as flabbergasted as I felt -- rose up to become my knight in shining armor. I can't remember his exact words, but he pretty much told her off (nicely) as he expounded on my writing career and cataloged my successes, including hitting the New York Times. (See photo --->)
She hurried to backpedal, insisting she hadn't meant anything by it and claiming that she respected what I've accomplished. But don't we all know better? Yeah, we do.

When the train came, she went one way, Fred and I went the other. On the train, I thanked Fred, but over the next few days I couldn't help but wonder why I didn't (and don't) generally stand up for myself.

Anybody else out there have this problem?

18 comments:

Shel said...

Good thing I don't know the lady in question or I just might lose my "Southern" and give her a piece of my mind. Bless her heart.

Shel said...

Oh, and GOOD FOR FRED!!!!

Aurian said...

Glad Fred stood up for you, when you were so surprised by that nasty remark. I do stand up for myself.

Dru said...

Fred's a good friend. I'm glad Fred stood up for you. The rudeness in people bothers me.

Edith Maxwell said...

Yeah, I'm also terrible at delivering the snappy comeback. I usually think of the right thing I should have said about five hours later. Glad you had Fred with you!

Julie Hyzy said...

You guys are the best! Yep, very glad I had Fred with me. He's one heck of a nice guy. My characters handle rude better than I do... but then again, I have months to come up with their snappy comebacks!

Nancy said...

Good for Fred! I don't imagine you could ever be one to return a zinger when someone is rude to you. Your politeness is deeply ingrained. Revenge would be sweet if you wrote the rude person into one of your books and zap them good - with words, of course.

Ellie Costa said...

Well, after reading about the nasty comment your rude "friend" made, I would say she is JEALOUS of your success. You acted like the refined lady that you are and Fred put her in her place like a gentleman would. We all love you so who cares what she thinks, that is her loss. Have a great day. I love your books.

Leann Sweeney said...

Hmmm. I'm thinking of a NOT very nice word to describe this person, but she sounds very much like many of the snooty people who live in the town where I also reside. I wonder if, while I was still a nurse, someone would have said, "Oh, you're still doing that nursing thing, huh?" I doubt it. Sigh. Writing IS a real job but I just wonder why people think it isn't. I would have said something not very nice to this person, I'm afraid.

Julie Hyzy said...

You are all so sweet. Thank you! I love that idea, Nancy, and I think she'll find a place in an upcoming mystery. Hmm... villain or victim? So tough to choose :::grin:::

Wouldn't it be nice if we always had good friends around (like Fred, like all of you!) when someone made a nasty remark?

This could be a fun scene to write!

Kimberly and Abby said...

Was the phrase you were searching for called air quotes? You know, like people do when they're making fun of something...

I deal with an insane amount of rudeness in the general public because I work with a guide dog. I never have a good comeback at the time, but I just try to get through the incident without losing my cool too badly. I usually rant and rave once I'm alone or with my spouse. ;-)

Stick her in a novel and kill her off. Since she thinks so little of your amazing books, she'll never know...

Anonymous said...

A prophet is not without honor, except in his own town!

Aimee said...

"Oh, that writing thing? Sadly, yes.

Goodness, is that the time? I can't keep you a moment longer. I know you're jetting off to Dubai to speak at the World Conference on Human Rights."

Said with just the right look on your face, it'd be a killer, let me tell you.

A southern drawl would almost gild that particular lily.

Julie Hyzy said...

Air Quotes!!! Yes!!

I guess I ought to do a better job of that "Writer thing" because I should have been able to come up with that! LOL Exactly right!

Thanks to all of the great comments I'm getting today, I think I'll plan for my acquaintance's fictional demise.

Love the quote, Anonymous!

Aimee - I laughed so hard. Yep, the Southern drawl would make it absolutely killer!

ev said...

Because we, esp as women, are taught not to stand up for ourselves. Which is horse pucky. Don't diss me, don't diss my friends (esp in my hearing) and don't diss that which I choose to read. I will rip apart what ever it is you choose to do in retaliation. I am not a nice person when ticked off.

Other than that, she probably thought she had caught you doing the nasty with someone else and don't be surprised if you hear about it through the sour-grapevine.

Shirley said...

Love the idea of putting the person in one of your books, victim in a gory way, or maybe an 'embarassing' way!!!

Books by Heather said...

I'm with you--not confrontational at all, except for few instances. Most of which involved my kids. The Mama Bear in me is apparently not afraid of confrontation at all. :)

I agree with the others--put her in a book!

Julie Hyzy said...

There are days I wish I could be more like you, Ev. But I'm afraid it's too late for that for me. Of course, like Heather, when my kids are involved, I don't hold back. Fortunately for everyone, there have been very few moments like that.

I've been toying with victim versus villain. Shirley - your idea of an embarrassing moment may be just the ticket!

Thanks for the support everyone!