During a routine conversation at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference, someone asked me what I write.
“Romantic comedy,” I replied, preparing to ask her the same question while assessing her attire to see if I could guess on my own.
Before I could ask, she gave me an incredulous look. “Romantic comedy? Why?”
I’m not sure if it was a comment on the volatility of that sub-genre or the fact that I hadn’t managed to say anything hysterical in the eight seconds we’d known each other.
Either way, I thought about the nail.
If you read the blog on Friday, you know I got a flat tire on my journey to the conference. I discovered it just after I arrived in Issaquah, WA for a “librarian speed dating” event. Though I’ve never been to Issaquah and found it to be a lovely town, I wasn’t keen on roaming it on foot to search for the event location.
A smart person would have assessed the tire damage and contacted a repair professional.
I made jokes on Twitter.
Then I called Pythagoras and described the tire’s condition in a conversation that may have included the phrase “flaccid manhood.”
Don’t get me wrong – there was some crying and cursing, and the obvious panic about whether I was going to have to turn tricks in the hotel parking lot to secure a ride to the event.
As it turned out, prostitution wasn’t necessary. The kind and lovely Marcella Burnard – a sci-fi romance author with no way of knowing whether I routinely kill sci-fi romance authors and bury their bodies in my vegetable garden – read of my flat tire woes on Twitter. Since we have a mutual Twitter acquaintance and were both attending the librarian event, she offered to pick me up and drive me to our destination.
Forget Fabio on the cover of a bodice ripper, Marcella is my hero.
In the morning, I limped my pitiful car to a nearby shop and alternated between sniffling back tears and giggling each time someone began a sentence “I just jacked…”
I stopped giggling when the repair guy suggested the tire was likely ruined, and since the car is all-time all-wheel-drive, would need four new tires.
But luck was on my side, and by “luck” I mean a giant nail the size of my middle finger.
“Turns out the tire isn’t ruined,” the repair guy told me. “We were able to pull out the nail and fix the tire after all.”
I’m pretty sure I swooned with relief. “That’s so great. Can I have the nail?”
He looked at me like I was nuts – an expression you’ll be surprised to hear is familiar – and retreated back to the shop. He returned to hand me the evil implement, which I tucked inside my wallet for safekeeping.
It's possible I was the only romance author at the convention who routinely whipped out a rusty nail in the course of routine introductions, but I thought it made a lovely conversation piece.
It also answered that author’s question – albeit, in a vaguely weird way . This is why I write romantic comedy. Because I can find the humor in all situations. Because flat tires and rusty nails really are funny if you look hard enough. Because even though it annoys the hell out of loved ones from time to time, the fact that I can find the funny in anything is what makes me who I am.
Why did you pick your genre? Was there an epiphany involved, or did you know from the moment you started writing? Please share.
I will share a picture of my nail. Impressive, huh?