I am attending a writer’s conference, a small gathering of ~200 writers. I enter the room and find a seat. As I’m waiting for the event to start I scan the room to see who is there. I am shocked to see none other than Ernest Hemingway. I turn to a colleague. “He isn’t signing, is he?” She replies flatly, as if I’m just catching up. “Sure. He’ll sign after his talk.”
I jump from my seat and run to my study (in an adjacent room) to grab a few volumes for Hemingway to sign. To my horror, all my Hemingways seem to be misplaced. My library is in utter disarray. I can hear strains of Hemingway’s talk going on in the next room as I scramble to try to find his novels, short stories, anything! Frantically I jump from the fiction shelf to the poetry shelf – but he didn’t write poetry, I hear myself think.
In despair I give up and reenter the conference hall. Hemingway has just finished his remarks. I’ve missed his talk. All I can see are the backs of the heads of the mob at the side of the podium. I watch as I realize I’m not even going to be able to get close enough to shake his hand. The literary event of a lifetime is evaporating before me.
Maybe I could get him to just sign my notebook, I think to myself. How lame, I reply.