Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Before Dan Brown was Dan Brown, He was on the Smoki Bacon and Dick Concannon Show (sitting across from me)

First of all, you're wondering if there really IS a Smoki and Dick show of any kind. There is -- the Smoki Bacon and Dick Concannon Show.

Smoki Bacon is legendary in Boston. (I'm attaching a photo that ran in the Boston Herald of Smoki in the glasses that I remember so vividly.) She hosts a cable access show where she interviews authors and creative types (and perhaps even luminaries -- something to jot on a form next time you're asked for your occupation: Luminary.)

Basically, the writers (and luminaries) show up for lunch. We eat at one big table (like the kids' table at Thanksgiving) and, one by one, we're brought to a smaller table where we speak to Smoki herself for a short interview. Her husband, Dick, shoots the show.

I've been on the show twice, I think. And one time, I was there with the author of the screenplay Cadet Kelly, who also had a book out? And this other guy -- a guy in a tweed jacket -- named Dan Brown.
We asked each other what our respective books were about.
Dan was pretty quiet in the group. Cadet Kelly screenwriter was loud and kind of witty, as I recall, and as a mother with kids, I was familiar with at least part of his oeuvre.

When it was Dan's turn to describe his novel, he said -- and this is all I remember -- "Essentially..." and then he summarized his book ... The DaVinci Code.

I stopped listening at the word "essentially". I don't know why it struck me, but it did. I remember thinking that it was a haughty way to begin describing your book. I mean, it's implied, right? Of course we want the essential version. The non-essential version is the book itself -- in all of its hundreds of pages of glory.

And so when I got back to the hotel and Dave asked me how my lunch was, I said, "Essentially ... " and I started in.

What was my problem? Why was I so hung up on that word? Am I really that unforgivingly on high alert for anything the least bit haughty that I got hung up on a single word -- and missed the ENTIRE description of The DaVinci Code? (Yes.)

I'm what's wrong with writers, I thought later. We're all so hyper aware and nit-picky that there's no way to breathe around us -- without us dissecting the length of each sigh, the exact nature of each inhalation ...

And then, a few weeks later, there was Dan Brown and his book, the title of which I'd (essentially) forgotten but I'd never forget it again ...

So, recently, I was at a Feast of Authors -- no authors were actually eaten at this feast -- and I was asked to move from table to table of booksellers and librarians where I was supposed to describe my upcoming novel, Pure, again and again.

And you know how I would often begin?

With one word: essentially because, hey, maybe it works. (I did not wear tweed.)