Just then I heard someone at the door and I thought it was the children. Some sort of youth congress had been in session at the capitol for two or three days and children were milling about all over town. A few had even wandered into Gum Street where they had no conceivable business. I had been packing my clothes and watching these youngsters off and on all day through the curtain and now--the very thing I feared--they were at my door. What could they want? A glass of water? The phone? My signature on a petition? I made no sound and no move.This morning, a few hours before I read the passage above, I found in my inbox the following e-mail:
To Whom it May Concern:Now, had this press release taken the usual tack, that of a generically cheery announcement of new book X, I wouldn't have done more than glance at it before deleting it. Like all book bloggers, I get a fair number of press releases for books that aren't really up my alley; that's what publicists do, after all. But how could I not sit up and take notice when told--with, in that "I know about" construction, at least a hint of a hint, presumably unintentional, of a veiled accusation--that I was receiving this press release because of my "involvement with orphans"? To what on earth could this note conceivably be referring?
I know about your involvement with orphans and just wanted to let you know about a new book called Orphans and the Fatherless: Making Ourselves Known.
If you would like to check it out, go to www.orphansandthefatherless.com
Have a great day!
Let's consult the evidence. I suppose it's possible that two of our cats were orphans, but I don't know that. I did play Oliver Twist in a community theater production of Oliver! back in 1988, and it's true that when I see packs of children racing around and causing an unsupervised ruckus in public, I do have a bad habit of echoing Scrooge and crying out, "Are there no orphanages? Are there no workhouses?" In addition, I will admit, I once wrote a short story that ended with this sentence, one that could, I suppose, be construed as the product of involvement with orphans, if of a decidedly non-Dickensian, post-apocalyptic variety:
That is why, tomorrow, when I do not see my neighbor, I will lower the blinds, all of them, on all my many windows, and I will check the locks, for there is nothing more terrifying than an empty street on a gray afternoon when one knows there are children around.Come to think of it, maybe I was the right person to receive that press release after all! Carry on, then! Best of luck with getting the word out about your book!