I was hiking with a good friend. She would never knowingly say anything hurtful. But she said, “Your other books weren’t pageturners, but this new one is.” I have to admit, I didn’t say anything at the time. After all, everyone has an opinion, people don’t need to like my books. I don’t set out to write “pageturners” even. So why does this still bother me? It does. I think there are sometimes better ways to say things.
Take another example. I was by strange circumstance, camping with some near strangers. We were chatting away. One of the younger ones (late 20s), said, “I haven’t spent much time with people your age.” My age?! Living here, where you by necessity begin to hang out with people of all decades, and then find you enjoy it, I don’t think about age that way. This statement made me feel undeniably old. Please don’t say this to anyone.
I’m sure I have blundered about in my own way and said things that people wondered about. We all do it. It’s easier to talk than to think first.
As for books, I don’t really care if people don’t like them. I don’t write books so people will turn pages. I really write them for myself, to make sense of things that have happened. To create a record of my life. We leave so little behind. In one hundred years, nobody will remember me. But maybe my books will be around, in some dusty corner of some bookstore. I like to think that.