This is one of my soapbox issues clamoring to be addressed: I’m a writer; one of the very few people who said they should write a book, and did. Many people say they should write a book, thinking they have a fascinating story to tell. They know, deep down, it would be a run-away best seller. Seriously, it just might be, but they can’t seem to find time in their busy lives to get to it. Does that stop these folks from saying “I should write a book” every time I see them? Not wanting to slight any feelings, I succumb to a writing demon that prods me to ask what their book would be about. Predictably, the answer is that it would be about their life. Honestly, these same people I have known for years are going to sell a book about their lives? To a mass audience? I don’t think so!
I believe this nonsense starts in the fourth grade when a teacher asks, no demands, that you write your autobiography. Whoa! By my calculation you’d be about nine years old. What the hell kind of autobiography would that be? “I was born in Pottsville? My house is white?” I know it was more an academic exercise than a means of identifying budding authors, but I do remember my fourth grade teacher telling my mother that I had a vivid imagination. I don’t think my mom was impressed by that remark but I seem to remember getting in trouble over it. My point here is that a conspiracy of fourth grade teachers implanted the idea that we should all write a book – write “what we know.” Unfortunately, unless we are a political insider, teen idol, reality TV star, multi-rehabbed celebrity, or have our own talk show, this will never fly.
So next time you run into a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger who tells you they could “write a book,” take on a glazed, zombie-like look, become distracted, mumble senselessly, and I guarantee they’ll be so bewildered by your actions that you’ll be able to slip away unscathed. For sanity’s sake, don’t make the mistake of asking what their book would be about!