Saturday, April 23, 2005

How an author finds he's arrived

I was reading up on John Ross, author of Unintended Consequences (a book I really need to buy), when I stumbled upon this question from an interview:

Interviewer: What has been your proudest moment as a writer?

Mr. Ross: There were a number of good memories, such as getting my first four-figure check, seeing the pallets of bound copies of my novel at the publisher's warehouse, doing my first public book signing, and getting asked to address a discussion club for the first time.

However, these all pale compared to what happened when I listened to my voicemail messages one day and heard the following message:

[Agitated woman] "John Ross? Is this thing recording? I just thought you'd like to know that you and your goddamn book have ruined my honeymoon. Probably my marriage, too. I can't believe my-" [muffled sound, a second voice, faint, as if a hand is over the receiver, then the hand being pried off] "Give me that... you bastard, you haven't
even-" [more muffled noises, then a man's voice on the phone:

[Man] "Mr. Ross?"

[The woman, from several feet away] "It's his answering machine."

[Man] "Oh." [relieved] "Uh...Mr. Ross, this is, uh, well, never mind my name, but-"

[Woman in background, yelling] "His name's _________! [name deleted for privacy]

[Man] "Yeah, uh it's_________, that's right. Uh, Mr. Ross, I'm kind of on my honeymoon, and-"

[Woman, screaming now] "KIND OF on your honeymoon?" [muffled sound of hand covering receiver, alternating screaming and soothing tones, but I can't make out the words]

[Man] "Listen, I started reading your book on the plane 'cause it was a four hour flight, you know, and now I just can't put it down. And it's pretty long, you know, so I'm still not finished, and my wife, well, I haven't been paying enough attention to her, and-"

[Woman, screaming loud enough for me to hear even though the man quickly covers the mouthpiece again] "IT'S THE SECOND DAY OF OUR HONEYMOON AND YOU HAVEN'T EVEN FUCKED ME YET!"

[Man] Um, I guess you heard that, Mr. Ross. Look, everything's going to be okay, I'm almost finished with it and I can't tell you how much I'm enj- GIVE ME THAT BACK RIGHT NOW!" [Sound of scuffle and phone being hung up].

I got a follow-up call a day later, where the husband assured me that everything was all right and his wife wasn't going to file for an annulment.

If that's not an endorsement, nothing is.