A Hit and A Miss
The following story might contain some facts that could very well infuriate my good friend Clive, but understand; the Muses have inexplicably let me be for a time, so in order to post something -- anything -- I feel a need to press on without them.
I met a bona fide published writer once. My eldest sister, herself one whom I term a professional student (as well as a teacher in the Texas public school system for many years), introduced us over beers at a local pub one evening in Grandview, Texas.
The place catered to a well-behaved and wiser crowd than what I was used to, so at first I felt uneasy among these sorts, being the youngest as well as a lesser-educated person of the bunch. That feeling did pass quickly, though, as I sat and listened while this man spoke and regaled our booth with some of his fascinating life-history.
Benjamin Capps, some twenty years my senior, mustachioed, wrinkled and tanned, had also just finished his latest manuscript, I learned. Naturally, since I possessed talent with artistic tools, the subject came up at some point about the possibility of me illustrating his story. After a few beers, the idea began to grab hold, and I believe I eventually agreed to do so.
The problem is that I am an ardent procrastinator, so I blame the beer for that terrible mistake. You must understand this part well: I also despise commissions.
Ah, well. We all had a good time that night.
Now several weeks later, I received a box crammed full with a ream of neatly-stacked onion-skin paper, double-spaced on each page. Capps had sent me his one and only copy of a soon-to-be-published novel to read over. I did just that before returning it too, plus I felt powerfully honored to even be considered.
But to this regretable day, I have no idea if that manuscript ever went to press.
And of course, I failed to keep up my end of the bargain then, so it became one of those mysterious things one can only wonder about -- what might have happened, you know.
So such is life, Clive. Such is life.