Monday, May 21, 2007

Mr. Know-It-All

I managed to avoid my computer most of the weekend, which was quite a feat considering the amount of time I've been spending on it lately. Instead, I got to enjoy a work bbq with husband. Very exciting, I know. I was not looking forward to this bbq because spending hours chatting with a bunch of engineers is not exactly titillating. It turned out fine - not the most exciting afternoon, mind you, but enjoyable nonetheless (though I probably enjoyed snickering *at* people more than I should have...). The highlight was being harangued by a know-it-all engineer boy. Husband had warned me this guy is a know-it-all (he's even argued with their very intelligent boss who knows much more than him), but I forgot his warning. Mr. Know-It-All asked me what I do, and I very bravely told him I am writing a novel. (Somehow it's always harder for me to discuss my career choice with complete strangers because their "oh one of those" looks bother me, even if they shouldn't.) He then asked me if it was non-fiction. *sigh* I mention this fact because Mr. Know-It-All obvioulsy doesn't know that much--a novel by it's definition is fiction--and yet he ended up arguing with me about writing. I told him "no, it's a novel, so it's fiction" with maybe a little too much sass. He then asked me what it's about, which is my least favorite question from a stranger. I declined to answer this one saying that I don't like talking about it. If I'm talking to a stranger who seems genuinely interested and not at all smug, I will answer this question, otherwise I deflect it as best I can. However, Mr. Know-It-All was quite stubborn and kept badgering me to tell him what it was about. He then asked me the genre of the novel. I told him it's not really a genre it's literary fiction, to which he replied "it has to be a genre, all fiction is part of a genre." Not strictly true (at least from a publishing perspective). I told him no, it wasn't really a genred book, but if it were in a genre the genre would be literary fiction. Husband sat back in amusement at this conversation. I probably should have been gentler with Mr. Know-It-All, but he was haranguing me to tell him about my novel when I'd only met him 5 minutes earlier, and then he had the nerve to argue with me about something he clearly knew very little about. He kept insisting that literary fiction wasn't the genre and that I should name a real genre. Grr. I did get one last dig in when someone else asked me a question and I told them that I had worked in publishing for the past few years, so I know quite a lot about publishing and literature. Ornery, I know, but well worth the look on Mr. Know-It-All's face.

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