Have you ever been to one of those barbecues where some guy is name-dropping all over the place? He’s talking about the big things he’s done, and everyone flocks around him because some people are actually impressed by this?
And when the food is served, the host asks this guy to say grace, or toast, or whatever.
The guy answers, “Oh, no. I couldn’t possibly.”
But he does anyway.
He makes a big speech, drops a few more names, tells a few more grandiose stories, and you need a seasickness bag.
But in truth, you hardly notice him all night because throughout the party, you are in the corner talking to an old woman—let’s call her Maddie.
Maddie is the mother of one of the guests. She is wearing slippers and a nightgown, but her mind is sharp. She looks out of place at this party, but you like out-of-place people because you are one.
Maddie survived the Great Depression, and she never talks about this
in public. It’s too painful. But tonight, her meds are kicking in, and she’s talking with you because she’s high as a weather balloon.
And you fall in love with her. You even contemplate kidnapping her to be your own private granny.
The more she talks, the more you want to tell everyone at the barbecue how incredible Maddie is, but everyone is too head-over-heels about Mister Name Dropper, who is telling a story about how he once ran into Kim Kardashian in an elevator in Toledo.
So the party ends, and Maddie goes to bed because she has chair yoga in the morning. And that night, you go home and feel so inspired that you start writing a novel.
And that’s how the book begins.
It’s a tribute to an old woman you met. Only, the more you write, the less it…