Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Red Shawl, a Dominatrix, and Me

I know what you're thinking, but I'm not about to provide you with material to blackmail me. No, this is about an odd connection that sprang up out of the blue. Well, red.

See, this man emailed me. He's from Argentina but lives in Canada and he'd read The Bookseller and liked it. His name is Alex Waterhouse-Hayward and he's a photographer, writer, and artist. A seriously good photographer who's taken pics of all kinds of remarkable people.

And now some unremarkable ones (me).

See, Alex came to town and asked if, while he was here, I'd participate in a project he's working on. It involves wearing a red shawl his mother bought in Argentina fifty-plus years ago. Each person he photographs goes onto his blog and writes something to go with the picture (here's mine). He doesn't tell you how to wear the shawl, or what to write.

A burlesque dancer, poets, actresses, composers, even a "provocateur" have all gone before me. And yes, a dominatrix, too. I single her out for two reasons. First, I love the photo. Second, what she wrote to accompany it is genius; it's funny, concise, honest, and simply perfect. Check it out.

It's an honor to be on the Red Shawl roll call with all those high-falutin' achievers. But it's also just plain cool. That a guy I don't know read something I wrote and made a connection with me, and then through an old piece of cloth that means something to him, connects me to other people. That's been one of the wonders of being a writer, to be honest, hearing from total strangers who take the time to email me and let me know they liked my books.

It's true that I hear some nasty stuff, too, people seem to get very upset when then buy a book and don't like it. Check out the reviews on Amazon to see what I mean. But those are out-weighed by the good ones (there are more, fortunately, and those are the ones I reread!) and when people like Alex drop me a line and include me in their work, it's priceless.

Ah, you know who I should connect? The people who write mean things about my book and that dominatrix. She, quite clearly, is someone not to be trifled with.

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