A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

ODE TO STREET HASSLE

My first full article for Neighborhood Notes is now available online. It's a piece on the St. Johns + Art program under which local businesses are currently hosting local artists in their windows.

Read it here, and look at the keen photographs by Kenneth Aaron.

Speaking of photos, James Lucas Jones at Oni took this picture at yesterday's Wordstock literary festival:



Joëlle Jones and I were there promoting You Have Killed Me. We had a really good Saturday, sold 8 copies plus a couple of other books; Sunday was a drag. We sold nothing.

The kid in the picture kept coming back to the Oni booth and he read the 4th and 5th Scott Pilgrims throughout the day. When he finished 5, he jumped up and declared he needed 6 now.

Funniest sight of the day, though, was an old man who came over to the booth. He had a rather pronounced belly, and right at the center, over his belly button, there was a large, perfectly round dollop of yellow mustard. When I described it to Sarah Grace McCandless, she remarked that it sounded like his navel was producing the mustard--and that's exactly what it looked like! It was as if the mustard emerged from his stomach and seeped through his shirt.

He picked up a copy of Matt Loux' SideScrollers and immediately rested it on his belly to read it, putting the bottom corner of the book directly in the mustard. James and I just stood there staring in disbelief. The circle was about the size of a quarter and bright yellow, hard to miss, but there it was, bloop, the book right in the condiment. When he left, there was a little yellow stain on the corner of the book. He also managed to get some on the cover of another book.

I have to say, for as much as comics folks like to bitch about behavior of comics fans at conventions as if it were unique to the field, it's totally not. Book lovers are just as socially awkward and downright stupid and rude. The inane questions we heard or off-hand, thoughtless remarks rivaled anything a fanboy might lob at an unsuspecting comics pro. Joëlle was rather sharply quizzed by one bizarre woman about why her drawings weren't ugly. "Well, you're pretty, you wouldn't understand," the woman said. "Plus, pretty sells, I don't blame you." This woman said everything in this very soft, questioning manner, but always stopped short of an actual point, instead halting and staring at the person she was talking to as if she was waiting for a response despite having offered nothing really appropriate to be responded to. And she'd keep staring, as if willing you to speak.

Another woman came to the Oni table, picked up a copy of Whiteout and brandishing the book, loudly proclaimed that she could go see the movie for cheaper than it would cost to buy the comic. Another--and note, all the women mentioned so far were white-haired and old enough to know better--asked which of the Oni books had good art because her son had no patience for bad art and they didn't want any comics with bad art. The son, who was a kind of Baby Huey manchild, was standing next to her double-fisting large sodas. He looked at me and asked if I minded if he set them down on the books. I smiled and said, "I don't think that would be a good idea." He chuckled and told me he was joking, as if I was the one not smart enough to suss out the sophisticated humor of the other. "I know, I was joking, too." Poor James had to also keep fielding queries from novelists who had dusty manuscripts locked away in their desk drawer that they thought might make good graphic novels. Ay yi yi.

Thankfully, I think the cranks were outweighed by decent folks, just like at comics shows. And the youngsters, like the Scott Pilgrim kid, make it worthwhile, too.

Current Soundtrack: R.E.M., "West of the Fields;" Charlotte Gainsbourg, "IRM" (free download); The X-Cellents/E-Cellents/Vacant Lot" (from Garage Hangover)

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All text (c) 2009 Jamie S. Rich

3 comments:

Oz said...

Book lovers are stupid? Then there's no hope for the rest of humanity....

mark coale said...

While I love having a table at cons (as to have a place to sit down during the show), the social intersction stuff is not high on my list.

I sold two copies of the magazine at baltimore, one to a pro who insisted on paying despite a)being offered one for free and b) his mrs. already had a copy.

i do lots of schmoozing for future interviews so it was not a total loss.

Subatomic Matt said...

I'd have clobbered Mean Mr. Mustard.