A good friend gave me a sweatshirt for Christmas a couple of years ago that has “Careful or you’ll wind up in my novel” printed on it, which I love! And as several of my friends have found out from book to book, it’s kinda true. Anyway, I’ve been wearing it again since we started getting the cooler weather here in Michigan and even had it on at the airport while traveling to one of the recent signings. Most folks just chuckle when they read the shirt, but then come the questions.
“Are you an author?”
“What do you write?”
And then the one I dread most.
“What are the titles?”
Why do I dread this question? Because it usually leads to someone’s discomfort, mine or theirs and sometimes even both. Why?
Think about it. There’s quite a few people sitting around at the airport waiting for their flight. When somebody asks “Are you an author” and the answer is in the affirmative, some folks in the vicinity take notice. Their ages vary, both genders are present and some folks are even traveling with their kids. My preference is simply to leave it at that I write comedies and not because I’m ashamed of what I write. I’m not. I’m not ashamed to be gay either and I don’t feel I’m going to hell just because of who I feel romantically inclined towards.
But at the same time, while I tend to surround myself with family and friends who feel similarly, it’s a different story when you’re in public. Not everybody is as open-minded, especially if they have younger children with them. Their minds go right to what they’ve heard some of the media report, some (notice I use the words “some”) of what their religious leaders tell them and all the worst things come to mind.
The simple solution is to remember not to wear that sweatshirt while I’m out and about. On the other hand, why shouldn’t I be able to wear it? Why–in a slightly more enlightened world–should I not be able to tell folks about my work without feeling odd about it?
But I do feel odd. I don’t like the looks. I don’t like the stares. “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation” kinda says it all for them. And “Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins” or “Gaylias”? Same thing. There’s suddenly “one of those” around them.
Not everybody reacts in a negative way, though. There’s just enough of them who do that spoil it and make me not want to talk about a part of my life I’m actually very proud of.
So I guess I remain torn.
Have other writers come across this? If so, what did you do? And even if you’re not a writer, how would you react if faced with a similar situation?