First, an apology.
I missed last week because a burglar/literary critic made off with my laptop.
I had been planning to update new readers/FB “friends” with what I’d been doing anyway, and that is, since I began self-publishing, to sit in a café with a stack of my books and a sign of a Checkered Demon (drawn by legendary UG cartoonist S. Clay Wilson) saying “Buy Bob’s Books!” Then each week, I would report on sales or other notable encounters. A post-burglary development is that, when tidying my study, I came across an old “New Yorker” cartoon of a disheveled fellow standing on a corner, his hat set at his feet for donations, and a sign “Meet the Author, which I have added to my presentation.
In fact, I believe it was this cartoon that caught the eye of a cute five-or-six year old girl.
“Wanna buy a book?” I said.
That got me a big smile.
“You’re too young,” I said. “Come back in a few years.”
That got a smile from her mother.
Otherwise, one check in the mail for a “Cheesesreak” 2d ed., from a correspondent in the comic world.
And two copies of it and of “The Schiz” picked up by the burglar, but since they happened to be in the shoulder bag within which he carried off my laptop, I can’t put this down to editorial choice.
Before all of this I’d been running into a spate of “Maybe next time” and “I’ll think about it” and “I’m traveling light”s at the café.
My favorite was young woman – probably a grad student in one of the sciences, from China – jean jacket, jeans, over-sized glasses – who picked up a “Cheesesteak” and said, “About food?”
“A memoir about growing up in West Philadelphia,” I said.
“Your story? Very cool.”
“Take a look. Ask a question.”
“Maybe next time.”
I figure “Very cool,” “Maybe next time” are two handy expressions to have in English.