Monday, April 13, 2020


   By Mary Kennedy                             


Writers are like sponges, soaking up bits of conversation, snippets of dialogue that might eventually appear in our books.

Here's a collection of some of the odder comments I've heard, some funny, some tragic.

On a crosstown bus in Manhattan.  Two ladies sitting behind me discussing a couple they know.
"So how are Frank and Sylvia doing?"
"Not so good," her friend replies. "You know, things were never the same since he threw her through that plate glass window."

During an interview with a D-list television host.
"So tell me, Mary, do you ever wish you were Nora Roberts?"
Me: "No, I don't. Do you ever wish you were Katie Couric?"

Note: Sister Mary Immaculata taught us "never to return rudeness with rudeness," but sometimes you just can't help it, you know?

An eight year old boy at a literacy event.
I had a signing table with a selection of my childrens' books, promo materials and candy bars.
"Hi there! Would you like an autographed book?" I ask brightly.
"I'd rather have a candy bar," the boy said, looking over the table.
"Well, I'm afraid I'm out of candy bars."
"Then I'll take a book," he says with a heavy sigh.
"It's always nice to have an autographed book," I say with fake enthusiasm.
"Yeah, I can probably trade it for a candy bar," he tells me.

On a radio talk show, discussing my mysteries.
"Do you ever wish you could write a real book?"
"Um, most people think my books ARE real books. They have characters and settings and plots, you know."
"Really!" (as if I had just delivered a news flash).

In a newspaper interview.
"I'm sure our readers would like to know, which comes first, Mary, the plot or the characters?"
Me: "The check, always the check." (Yes, churlish, I know, but it was late in the day and I'd had nothing to eat but an entire box of Tic-Tacs.)

A dreadful woman at a Scholastic book signing.
"Your books are what's wrong with our education today." She picks up a chapter book and looks at it suspiciously.
"I'm sorry you feel that way." (Hah, I wasn't the least bit sorry.)
"They're part of the decline of our civilization."
"If you say so." (said with a bright smile.) Note to self: don't engage with her. Don't engage.
A long pause and then, "Do you write these very often?"
I decide it's time for a zinger. "Just when I want to spend a few weeks in Paris at George V or
buy a new Mercedes." She fades into the crowd, defeated.

Oh and my personal favorite. I found myself in Manhattan in Washington Square and had the good fortune to find a parking spot. But I had dollars and no coins for the meter. I grabbed a dollar bill out of my purse and I went up to a group of businessmen with my hand extended. "Does anyone have any change?" I said.
One of the guys looked at my outstretched hand, and didn't see the dollar bill. "Get a job!" he sneered at me as his pals all laughed.

Hope you enjoyed these!! Mary Kennedy


The Happy Whisk said...

Great fun to read and the kid with the chocolate, I loved that the best.

Lorraine Bartlett said...

I've had my share of rude comments, too, which is why I don't do book signings anymore.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thanks for stopping by, Happy Whisk!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Lorraine, it never ceases to amaze me how really awful people can be. I could blow off the child's comment because, well, he was a child. But the woman was truly dreadful. I don't do book signings anymore either. I seems we're fair game if we're sitting there.

StephanieHobrock said...

Now that’s some major rudeness!

Kara Marks said...

I can’t believe people would be so rude! I was an obstetrics nurse in a smallish town and people didn’t do much say rude things, but just really dumb things sometimes. I have a whole collection of things husbands and mothers-in-law would say—funny enough, the patients didn’t say very stupid things—I can really only think of one. Really dumb things were said by strangers to me as a pregnant person, though!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Hi Stephanie and Kara, yeah, it boggles the mind, the rude/stupid things people say. I'm thinking of doing another blog on it.