I had an, uh, “interesting” phone chat with my mother in Pennsylvania last night. It went generally like this….
• Mother: “Have a good trip back to England. Say ‘Hi’ to everyone for us.”
• Me: “I will of course. Helen spoke to her mother. Everyone seems okay. She always misses Helen when she comes over here for a while.”
• Mother: “Her mother adores her. Oh, you know, I noticed that your friend Carol’s husband, in England, that Helen wrote on Facebook that he’s written a book?”
• Me: [Uh, oh. Gather thoughts, Rob.] “Yes, he did. He worked on it for over a year. In his spare time. I bought a Kindle copy….” [Darn! Why did you say you bought a copy!?]
• Mother: “Well, that’s great to get something like that published the first time you do it.”
• Me: [Still wary.] “He didn’t. He self-published on Amazon. That’s become a big thing now. There are lots of best sellers by people who do. He hopes it’ll attract some interest. He’s not expecting millions.”
• Mother: “Getting published used to be about who you knew. My brother managed to know the right people. Now you can do it yourself. Have you….”
• Me: [Trying to shift the discussion quickly away from my friend's book, which has that potentially explosive ***Acknowledgement*** to me issue (I don't want my mother buying it!), and what I suspected was about to be a question from her about my writing something myself someday.] “You know that Fifty Shades book. The one they’re making the movie….”
• Mother: “….Of course I’ve heard of it. I bought it for your sister. And I was thinking, ‘What is this?’ She said, ‘It’s erotica.'”
• Me: “I get the impression ‘erotic’s’ not a strong enough word. [Am I discussing that book with my mother?] Anyway, I’ve read she started out with a blog, writing fan fiction of Twilight, I think. When she developed her own characters and published it on Kindle, she sold like a gazillion copies. I read someone who also said it sold so many that way because women could read it on Kindle sitting next to their husbands and kids and no one could see what they were reading because the cover wasn’t visible!”
• Mother: [After a laugh.] “How things have changed. Hey, you know those people living behind us? They moved….”
Whew. That was a close one. Book discussion concluded – by mother.
I think it was de Gaulle who once said a politician should never lie, but he must be careful about how he tells the truth. Well, whether politico or not, definitely don’t lie to your mother! Just avoid mentioning what she doesn’t directly ask. Or get her off the subject – quick! ;-)
Yes, we’re flying back to London later today. I may be quiet for a day or two. See you on here next from “over there.” :-)