I Yam Who I Yam*


A few days ago, I went through one of those vignettes that make me smile for no reason at all–it might have been embarrassing at another time in my life, but I am comfortable with my imperfections–most of them, anyway. Like Popeye, I am who I am, and not everyone else is cool with that. Or at least not as cool as I am with that.
I called a library to arrange a book signing for my new book, Raw Art Journaling, that’s coming out in a few days, maybe a week.
We join the conversation in progress, as it slides inexorably downhill:
Me: . . . so I wondered if a book signing would be a good mix for your events this summer.
Librarian: Well, I don’t know, maybe if you did a children’s program. . .
Me: The book is really for adults who keep a journal.
Librarian: We are looking to do more performance art this summer, with guests from far away.
Me: Oh. I would have thought you’d be interested in your local writers, too.
Librarian: Look, it’s not like you are exactly J.A. Jance.

What a great praise for J.A. Jance, a writer of mysteries and suspense books who used to live in Tucson and now lives in Seattle. I’m a fan. So I wrote her and told her the story.
Her reply?
Years ago, the same thing happened to her–except she was told “You are no Norman Mailer.” And then, incredibly, she told me two lesser-known libraries that had been helpful to her before she had several books on the New York Times best seller list.

None of us are all everyone wants us to be. What makes us great is the willingness to be who we have become. With some work, that is better than who we used to be. Because, great or not great, we can’t be anyone else.

-Quinn McDonald is happy about her book, Raw Art Journaling that is being shipped as soon as the 4th of July holiday is over. She did not tell this story for sympathy, as she knows librarians have to do what makes money. She told the story to show the kindness of another writer. That counts.