Friday, September 2, 2011

You Never Know What Can Happen, Even at the Seventh Rung of the Post Office

That's right, the post office. I generally abhor the place. There's always forty thousand people there, and the line? Long.

But you never know what can happen, even at the post office. Nothing has ever really happened to me, except for Lael, Thomas, and Merlin all know me by name and they know all my packages are media mail. They actually ask me now, "Media?"

It's mildly embarrassing. Thus why I've been putting it off for the past few weeks (the fact that I'm one breath away from complete and utter exhaustion has nothing to do with it... Nah, nothing).

Anyway, I go in yesterday with my billionty packages, and about 5 of them are my book. They're all stacked there, and this mom comes in with her teenage daughter. She asks me if I'm an author. I'm like, "Yeah, this is my book." They pick it up and peruse while I'm labeling the aforementioned packages.

They say it sounds interesting, ask a few more questions, and move on down the line. No problem. I still have about four thousand envelopes to address, and I can't find the addresses I need on my phone.

I really dislike the post office.

Anyway, I swear this story has a point. The mom checks out, and I'm still searching my phone, and she stops again and asks me if I have a group I attend. Yada, yada, yada, I find out she's an author, and is trying to find a critique group for her chapter book!

So I do what any shameless self-promoter would do. 1) I referred her to WriteOnCon, and 2) I gave her my card, and told her to email me if she has any questions.

It was awesome. Made the whole trip to the post office worth it--even though I seriously spent my life savings on postage.

Where's the strangest place you've made a connection with another author?



52 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Would you laugh if I said online? I just never expected to connect with other authors here. Blew my mind.
Cool you were in the right place for that woman.

Charlotte said...

Great story. Your experience in a post office definitely beats any of mine. :) My strangest place of meeting another author, to my recollection, was when I was in Camden Market- which is this great, but odd, market in London. I stopped at a stall which had some really nice art prints, and as I was looking at them I got talking to the stall owner. She basically gave me her life story and I found out how she was soon going to be a published children's author/illustrator. Being the shy soul I am, I never told her I was an aspiring author as well, but she gave me her card, so if I ever have need of an illustrator I think I'll look her up. Now I just need to remember where I left the thing!

Ciara said...

I found your blog on Lydia's sidebar. I LOVE it here. I'm a new follower. :) I know this sounds lame but the strangest place I've met an author would be online.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's awesome. I realized there's a Michigan SCBWI author debuting through a friend whose not an author but was a beta reader for her book.

Since my office moved, the post office is right across the street. They know me too.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's awesome. I realized there's a Michigan SCBWI author debuting through a friend whose not an author but was a beta reader for her book.

Since my office moved, the post office is right across the street. They know me too.

Matthew MacNish said...

YOU are awesome, Elana.

REINHARDT! said...

That is an awesome story, especially at the seventh rung of the post office (or the ninth circle of Hell).

I guess the strangest way I've encountered authors was through work. Just this past year, I was working on a project, and just happened to mention that I write YA fiction. My supervisor comes back at me and says that she does, too, and so do half of the workers at the office I work for. Alas, I couldn't join their writing group because I work remotely two states away!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

We have a group of tiles circled on the floor of our post office. And they are labeled ASBESTOS. How’s that for intriguing?

I’ve met authors poolside while my kids took lessons, at a football game, in a box, with a fox…

Have a great weekend!
~ Wendy

Laura Pauling said...

What a cool story. You must be a real author! :)

Ron Smith said...

That IS quite a story. I'm sure I have some kind of incident like that.

I'll have to think about it and come back.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Great story, Elana. Since I haven't really met any other authors in person, I'm going to have to say the weirdest thing is that I never expect other people to tell me their husband's a writer (non-fic for magazines) or their brother's an author (self-published). Especially since I don't talk to anyone offline about being a writer.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Where haven't I run into another author? LOL Some days I think there are more of us than there are readers.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Grab those moments while you can, Elana. I like your attitude.

K.T. Hanna said...

Online in an MMORPG. I'm not sure why I'm surprised to find writers there, since I write and play MMO's, but still - it always shocks me lol

A post office seems fitting somehow though!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Not another author, but yesterday I had a similar experience. My third grader went for his second round of gifted testing, and the site specialist wanted to review what he'd done so far. After our conversation, she said, "I've heard you wrote a book." I thought one of the teachers must have told her, but no, it was my eight-year-old.

After his second round was done, I left her with a bookmark and business card. And my baby made the program. :)

I'm off to the post office myself in a few hours...

Carolyn V said...

Aw! That's awesome! I think the grocery store. I know a weird place, not quite as cool as the post office. =)

Janet Johnson said...

Very awesome! And that lady didn't even know how lucky she was. :)

Christine Danek said...

How cool is that. You rock.

Jenny S. Morris said...

That is so cool. Although you are lucky you didn't run into me at the post office, I might have tackled you for an autograph. Maybe, I will start hanging out in post office's so I can meet local authors.

Elle Strauss said...

Well, I was checking out Wattpad and saw that author Jenni James hung out there a lot, so I tweeted her about what she thought, if it would be worth my time to check it out further, and she DM'd me with her home phone number! I called and we chatted for half and hour! It was awesome.

Robin Weeks said...

I don't randomly run into authors IRL much (outside conferences), but a surprising number of my previously existing friends and relatives are writers/authors. For example, Sandra Gray (not her real name), who won the Whitney a few years ago with her novel TRAITOR--is my first cousin.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's so cool! I've never actually met another writer in real life. One of these days... :)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Cool story! I met a guy who writes on the bus once, and my son's old bus driver writes poetry, but neither of them are interested in pursuing publication.

I keep meeting publishing people in random places. For example, I found out a couple of months ago from a good friend that her father-in-law works for the guy who owns some huge publishing company in Canada. And at the same time she told me that her friend, whom I have met several times at our kids' birthday parties, deals with foreign rights. I was like, "Why has this not come up before?"

Emily said...

I'm jealous of that lady. I actually met you at WIFYR and got all geeky and fan girlish to introduce myself to you...you probably don't remember, but you were super nice and gracious and all that...

Susan R. Mills said...

That's awesome! I've never had anything like that happen.

J said...

WriteOnCon was awesome! I found several crit partners thanks to the forums. :) I'm also a campaigner and new follower!

Lydia K said...

Probably at work. There are so many closet writers in the medical profession!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hmmm...tough question. NOT at the post office, though. LOL. Before I started to hang out online, I'd only met authors in book stores and reading conferences.

Angie said...

Great story. Let me think...maybe while visiting a new neighbor (Suzy) or while visiting teaching. =)

L.G.Smith said...

Is it possible NOT to run into someone who is writing a book? Kidding (I guess), but there do seem to be a lot of people who claim to be writing. :)

Took my non-writing sister to a conference once and now she's writing a book too. It's contagious.

Abby said...

What a cool story. Something strange about authors is that I have 3 friends that write and we all went to school together - in fact - 3 of us were even in the same ward and we never knew the others wrote until recently! It's been very fun.

Angela Brown said...

That was very gracious of you. That's what I call a great author.

I suppose the weirdest place I met another writer was at Pep Boys getting my car looked at. Sort of funny sitting there talking about books while he got his wheels aligned and I got my breaks fixed. Made the time pass quickly.

Marsha Sigman said...

Online.

Although it's surprising how many family members said they were thinking of writing a book now...

Peggy Eddleman said...

That's awesome, Elana! Yes, post office lines are the worst. But at least Lael is ALWAYS happy. :)

I think the strangest place was when I started working at my kids' elementary school. On my first day, the principal told me that there were two other writers in this 500-kid school. One that was a closet writer, and one that had a book deal. Oh, and the PTA president-elect is also a writer. Several other parents of kids that go to our school are, too. I think we must breed writers here. :)

Jeff King said...

On top of the Logan, UT temple….

June G said...

It just goes to show, some things are meant to be. I was on a plane last year and the guy next to me was busy scribbling on papers that looked very much like a manuscript. I asked him about it and he told me he was an editor and indeed it was a manuscript. He was doing a favor for the son of a friend and critiquing it.

You never know who you're going to meet :-)

Krispy said...

I'm with the people who have already said online. Haha. It's weird because it's like "Of course, you met online" but then it led to real life meeting and it's still pretty weird. Haha. Love this story though!

Stephen Tremp said...

The men's restroom at a book fair. It was another local author. We exchanged books and business cards and that was that.

Martha Ramirez said...

That's amazing. It really is something how things happen for a reason. Lucky her. I wish I could have ran into you when I first started writing years ago.
So awesome!

Kimmy said...

I just met an author this past week at Ruby Tuesdays! My mom and I were having lunch and discussing an author's blog, and the woman from the next booth came to our table, handed us her business card, and told me she published a book and started a publishing company! It was a bold and sweet gesture!

fuzzymango said...

So apologies in advance for going off-topic, but oh my gosh, you worked on WriteOnCon? THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping put that together! Seriously, I stumbled upon it quite by accident, and it was one of the best things I've ever discovered on the internet. Mad props!

Also, hello from your dystopian campaigner group! *waves* I'm excited to see more of your stuff in the weeks to come. :-)

Jessie Humphries said...

I never meet any authors. There are mostly just freaks in Las Vegas. (jk) Though Utah has so many and I've met some cool ones there, including the infamous (said with Three Amigos accent) Elana Johnson:)

Jessica Peter said...

I think my real question is. . . Merlin works at your Post Office? ;)

Canda said...

In the nursery at church--true story.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I was buying furniture for our office...the salesman said he was a writer. I gave him my card, but never heard from him? He was writing grown up stuff...

Enid Wilson said...

I was on a plane and the woman was sitting next to me. She told me she's just going for a book signing. Good on you to connect, anywhere.

Every Savage Can Reproduce

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Elana, great story! Thanks for sharing.

Christa said...

I hate the post office too...but I love that a mom found you there. Good girl. And she's the lucky one...you've opened a world to her.

Joylene said...

That is so kewl, Elana. I live in a small village so there's seldom a lineup. I did drop in one day to post a copy of my first novel to a reviewer and had to stand in line. Unusual. The postmaster spotted me, call for attention, and announced to everyone that they had a new author in their presence. He'd just finished reading my novel and he wanted everyone to say hello. It was a delightful, surreal experience. One I'll never forget.

T C Mckee said...

Awe, I love it when stuff this good happens. I met a young girl at the salon once who was pounding away on her laptop. She was seventeen and when I asked her if she was writing a book, her whole face lit up. I sat there listening to her story idea and I think I could have sat there forever. It was the coolest thing ever. I directed her to the blogging world of helpful writers. She asked for my autograph. I told her I wasn't anybody. She said, "not yet to the world, but you'll always be somebody to me." She killed me. Right there. Awesome day.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Wow, that's such nice story! I know it's always nice to make connections, but sometimes people don't take the time to do what you did so you deserve to be commended here. I'm sure it made her day also:)

I recently fell back in touch with a college friend of mine who is getting ready to query and I've had the honor of helping her get her query ready. It's so nice that writers all seem to band together for the greater good.

Lovely post as always:)

Leslie Rose said...

I had the husband of one of my teaching colleagues approach me at our staff holiday party and "come out" as a writer. He was the LAST person I'd ever expected to be a writer.

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