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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Bell Lady....

Hello Gentle Readers,

When I was growing up there was this wonderful woman who, for whatever reason, took a shine to me. She worked at the bank, and actually she had an office in the main branch of the bank. She could have OWNED the bank for all I knew. But, I remember in her office, she always had all these bells. Little bells, big bells, some as big as their head...sorry, lost my train of thought.

In my mind, she was always "The Bell Lady". She had a name, obviously, but I always associated her with endless amounts of bells. They were from around the world, often accompanied by photos of Paris, Rome, London. She may have just traveled around the world collecting bells for all I know. Actually, in a lot of ways I kind of realize she influenced the character of Doc. The mysterious traveler, with a warm heart and eccentric collection.

Well, tonight I presented at the Arts Council. I thought at first it would be extremely intimidating, what with my tendency to say the worst thing possible, and let's be honest, not everyone subscribes to my particular brand of whimsy.

And wouldn't you know it, she walks in. I was just hitting my stride when I look out, and through the double doors strolls The Bell Lady! I actually paused and said, "Excuse me folks, but someone I love dearly has just walked through the door!" It was a special moment, and frankly after that, kind of hard to worry....The Bell Lady had my back.

In all honesty, this evening could not have gone better. Everyone was friendly, sincerely interested, and since I was speaking to a writer's group, there was a certain feeling of being amongst friends. It was a very special experience, notable for some really fun moments:

1) In true small town fashion, the coordinator of the Writer's Group used to work with my Mom. She looked familiar, but didn't recognize me. Which isn't surprising since I was eight the last time she saw me, thin, and waist high. However, once we played that "I swear I know you from somewhere" game, we made the connection, and had a good laugh.

2) They were holding a raffle, and I offered my book "The Five Santas" (available wherever books are sold...including the trunk of my car) as a door prize. Well, this rediscovered friend had already wrapped a prize, and yours truly ended up with the wrapped prize. I didn't really think anything of it until I got home...Folks, I feel terrible! This is a beautiful pen set, with a leather bound journal. I just straight up stole this wonderful woman's carefully selected writer's prize. I may mail it back to her. Also, the wrapping job was top notch!

3) The crowd of writers were very kind. It was a little unnerving to the expert in the room, particularly in a field that I don't consider myself an expert in, not by a long shot. However, I was able to answer their questions with reasonable confidence, and actually managed to carry a meaningful dialogue! However, I had to tap dance with my jokes. First, Bell Lady was there, and I didn't feel like my usual shenanigans would fly. And second, this wasn't exactly my usual nerdy audience. I actually made a "50 Shades of Grey" reference. What I said was: James Patterson and I are apparently the only people selling physical copies. Maybe "50 Shades of Grey"......

That went over like a fart in church. Actually, it wasn't even that they were offended. It was just that no one knew what I was talking about. I had stumbled across the only group of women in America who don't know what "50 Shades of Grey" is. Which made me laugh a little.

4) The head of the Arts Council approached me afterwords, mentioning how my talk of humor reminded him of Terry Pratchett. I had to stop myself from just going FULL NERD talking about Sir Terry. I am a huge fanboy, and it's my dearest dream to become Terry Pratchett. I mean meet. Yeah meet, because that sounds a lot less creepy.

5) And in fanboy related news, I had mentioned how my favorite dude, wingman, and all around partner in crime The Dave Baer! looked a bit like Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. Also Dave's single (ladies!) Well, lo and behold this 70 year old woman walks up and starts talking about how much she loved Who! She remembered the show when it used to come on, but had no idea if it still did. Again, had to hold back the nerdy flood.

6) The best and brightest moment was hanging out with my Dad. Even though he's past retirement age, he still works like a dog to provide for his family, still continues to be my cheerleader, and still has never met someone he couldn't talk to. I was actually really excited because I might, possibly, MAYBE have convinced him to enter some of his pencil sketches in the local art show. Trust me, my Dad, the original Geechee, is far and away the talented one in the family!

So, that's my report from the world of Arts Council Writer's Group! It was a wonderful and fulfilling experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Long drive and all!

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm headed for bed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Homecoming...

Hello Gentle Readers,

So, I'm going home tomorrow. That isn't to say that I have not been home previously, or never been home before? Nothing that dramatic. No, I'm going to be speaking before the hometown Arts Council. And, I've never spoken before such a prestigious body...and I don't mean that sarcastically at all. I am genuinely honored to get up and gab to an actual Arts Council.

I have reached the point where, as an artist, I can speak to an ARTS COUNCIL! That is flabbergasting! I am astonished, and honored, and stupified.

And so nervous! So, help me out Gentle Readers, help me not to be nervous. I could use all the good thoughts and happy prayers you can send me!

In the meantime, there's also this, a blog I wrote on the ART OF SUSPENSE!!! HAHAHA!

http://www.selfpublishordie.com/2012/07/17/guest-post-from-jay-mims/