Bubba, I know you’re all fired up about going to the big city of St. Louis for that writer’s conference put out by my friends at the American Christian Fiction Writers. I feel the need to make a few suggestions to you that should make your visit more enjoyable for everybody, including yourself.
First off don’t go bring your pipe. They don’t allow smoking at this thing, especially that stuff you experiment with. Trust me, don’t even bother with it.
While we’re on the topic of odors. Don’t take that liquid you call cologne. You know what I’m talking about. That stuff that makes a pig’s tail curl. You’re the only one who seems to be able to stand it. Some of these folks have sensitive noses, so don’t even think about it, Bubba. Do shower with soap and water at least once a day.
Don’t go showing up without your shirt, Bubba. I’ve seen you with no shirt on. For the love of God and His people, these are my friends we dealing with! PLEASE, DON’T go without a shirt. Nobody will be interested in your…um, trust me, they don’t want your life story that way. Just wear a shirt.
Don’t go to your favorite store with the smiling G to get your shirts, neither. Nor any sore with “Thift” in the name. You can buy some new shirts at a store with “Mart” in the name, or something better. The clearance rack will work. Just don’t tell everybody how much you spent. They won’t be impressed that it’s you first store-bought shirt. Act like you do it all the time.
Don’t forget to make sure you take all the little pins out of the shirts before you put them on. Ain’t nobody impressed by blood stains on a new shirt. I don’t care if you insist they don’t hurt. That won’t impress nobody, neither.
Don’t go gathering road kill to eat while you’re there. My friends will feed you real good. You’ll think you done died and gone to heaven with the way they treat you at meal time. So, whenever you see something dead on the side of the road just tell yourself it’s leeverite roadkill. That’s right, just leave ‘er right there, Bubba. I don’t care if my good buddy trucker just run it over while you watched. Keep driving.
While we’re on the subject of meals. Don’t bother with that knife you got with the spoon and fork on it. Keep it home so you don’t loose it. Don’t be surprised when you see more than one fork next to your plate, neither. No, that’s not a mistake. Act like it’s normal, cuz for some folks it is. You can indulge by using them both at the same time if you like. But don’t do that for the whole meal. This isn’t a race, Bubba.
Don’t go expecting everybody to want to pay you for your story. I don’t know how you made a tale about a toad searching for a pond during a drought so he can get baptized so interesting, but you did. It may not be the right time for that story to hit the public. Tell everyone who’ll listen to you about it. Then leave it to God to bring about the publisher He wants to tackle that project. If it’s meant to be God will make it happen. You’re doing your part by showing up and getting the word out about it. That’s farther than most folks get in the process. We’re all proud of you for it.
I need to warn you that this event will be dominated by women. That means there’s more women there than men. No, they aren’t there for you, Bubba. So don’t go bringing your goo-goo eyes. Leave your eyes in your head and your thoughts clean. Yes, some of them are a might pretty to look at. Just remember God gave them stories, too. They’re doing their part to let folks know about their story.
Most importantly, don’t go thinking this is all about you, Bubba. Some folks will be there more scared than you are. Make friends with them. You’re good at that. Listen to them talk about their stories. You’ll all feel better. Before you know it you’ll feel a part of this writing family, too. We’re all just brothers and sisters listening to God and trying our best to please Him.
Enjoy the experience, Bubba.
Make sure you say “HI!” to my friends and tell them I can’t wait til they scurry back here to Dallas next year.
Keep smiling. Wade