Last week Adele wrote about her fan letter to her favorite author. It reminded me when I wrote to an author. But it wasn't a fan letter. It was a desperate plea for help. HELP, I say!
There was a time when I could take a book, read it, and nary a mishap. Then I began to get old and feeble- minded. I got the dropsies in the bubble bathies. And the coffee spillages on the page the killer was revealed.
"As God as my witness...As God as my witness, I will never borrow a friend's precious book. Only from the library because I can always just pay the fine. No harm, no foul."
This entire speech was said with such conviction, such feeling, that all those listening shed a tear. Yes. One single tear. And a rose was involved somehow. Maybe I bit a potato. And I may have been alone. I don't remember. The point is, I could not trust myself with books.
I broke this cardinal rule one fateful day. I broke it and lived to tell the tale.
One of my friends knew I was going on a long car trip. She knew I wanted to read The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. She knew I was clumsy and had children, but that temptress offered the book anyway! I tell you, I couldn't say no. What a fool I was! What a fool.
|My old nemesis|
What happened, you ask? Oh. I'll tell you what happened. Chocolate milk, the deadliest of all milks happened.
Chocolate milk spilled out of the bottle in the cupholder into my bag o' stuff-to-do-on-a-twelve-hour-car-trip. And worse yet, I DID NOT KNOW, until it glued the middle pages together. A brown gloppy stinky mess. No chance to clean it up.
But the worst, ABSOLUTE WORST, was that this was a hard-bound, PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED, FIRST EDITION beautiful book ruined by yours truly. Oh. Yes. I felt so bad. It ruined my trip.
As soon as I got back to the US, I searched high and low for a replacement. I avoided my friend. I searched for a first edition that was autographed for about a week. Finally, I hunted down the address for Rebecca Wells. Then I wrote a particularly pathetic letter, explaining what happened and begging her for an autographed copy. Every possible mean of contacting were included. I didn't hear from her.
I finally gave up. After nearly two months I tracked down an autographed, first edition. I bought it and placed it in the bag with the ruined book. I wrote another pathetic letter apologizing and explaining what happened. I gave it to her husband and, like a coward, left the scene.
My friend called me later that week and told me it was fine. That she hated that I was so stressed about it, I should've told her, no need for another one, etc. She's even offered to let me borrow more books. I always say NO!
But that, folks, is not the end. About two months after this, I get a phone call. Guess who it was? Ms. Wells' assistant! Yes! She called me! They got my letter and wanted to help me. She was so very very nice. I thanked her profusely and told her I had purchased one already. She kind of laughed, apologized for taking so long to get back to me, that they understood what happened and if there was anything else that they could help with to let them know.
So, that, my folks, is my "writing an author" story. Pathetic? Yes. Will I ever borrow someone's book? Unless I can run to Barnes and Noble to replace it, then NO! I learned my lesson. Again.
Please feel free to share your bookish horror stories so I don't feel quite so bad.