It’s your party, and I’ll hide if I want to

Just got an e-mail from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Kingsville, Maryland, informing me that my novel, Wolf Time, has been chosen as their Book of the Month (scroll down the page about three-quarters of the way). They state that I’m gaining “a bit of a cult following among Lutherans,” which is a surprise to me, but I won’t complain. I’m not entirely sure what it means to have a “cult following,” but my impression is that artists who’ve produced cult works generally live in their cars.

Anyway, thanks to the folks at St. Paul’s.

On Friday, while my brothers and I were working in my back yard, one of my neighbors came over and invited me to stop by for his birthday party, Monday evening.

I thanked him for the invitation, but didn’t figure I’d attend. My brothers, though, informed me that I was obligated to show up at least for a few minutes, in order not to offend the neighbor.

I really don’t get these social obligation rules. Never have. I’ve never been able to understand how anyone would be anything but relieved if I didn’t show up at their party.

Anyway, Monday evening rolled around, as Monday evenings are wont to do, and it found me genuinely terrified. I almost didn’t go at all, but I finally commended my soul to God, picked up the card and gift certificate I’d bought, and went over. I wished the neighbor a happy birthday, handed him the card, said I couldn’t stay, and rushed home as quickly as I could on shaking knees.

I suppose that wasn’t good enough. I suppose I took a year off my life and still offended my neighbor.

My advice to you all: Don’t develop Avoidant Personality Disorder. It doesn’t add much to your personal fulfillment.

18 thoughts on “It’s your party, and I’ll hide if I want to”

  1. I think you did a good job, and I wouldn’t have gone either had I not had brothers encouraging me to go. I seem to love my neighbors from a distance.

  2. Having a “cult following among Lutherans” puts you in the same category as Bo Giertz, author of “The Hammer of God” (not to be confused with Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi novel of the same name).

    I know I asked this before, but what Lars Walker novel should I start with? (I haven’t yet been initiated into the cult, alas.)

    P.S. Your device is questioning my humanity, even though I answered the question correctly. Didn’t it want punctuation?

  3. You can start anywhere with my novels. If near-future fantasy suits you, start with WOLF TIME. If you prefer historical fantasy, start with THE YEAR OF THE WARRIOR. If you can’t make up your mind, start with BLOOD AND JUDGMENT, which is a little of both (though not, imho, the best of the lot).

    Re the PS: How do we know you’re human if you fail our infallible test? 😉

  4. Michael, do you remember which question gave you trouble? I tried to write straight forward questions, though some are meant to be funny too.

  5. In terms of etymology; to have a cult following means people ‘dig’ you. (Alright; that’s a lame joke. I’ll go back to being miserable.)

  6. Oh, how I envy males!

    I have lost all of my ‘friends’ because I do not attend jewelry parties, kitchen gizmo parties, children’s toys parties, food parties…

    There is a never ending list of parties.

    I HATE them. I HATE them all, I say!

    I also do not understand the social rules.

    My admiration for you has grown. I have two sisters. They would have told me to stay home.

  7. The question had something to do with a train arriving at noon. Now I have to tackle the one about a tree falling in the forest. I don’t care what they say, I think it makes a sound.

  8. Now the train one came up. If this comment takes, I’ll know your gizmo doesn’t like punctuation. If it doesn’t, you’d better hide your tribble, because Worf & I are coming over.

  9. I had trouble with the train question too. As I recall, I’m supposed to figure out when the train arrives, but I’m not informed what time it left. I answered “I don’t know,” if I recall correctly, and that wasn’t satisfactory.

  10. Perhaps those questions are too complex. Punctuation doesn’t have anything to do with the answer, I think. If punctuation is in the correct answer, then it works.

    On the tree question, the answers I marked were “yes, no, maybe.” I should drop that one for being too open-ended.

    The train question is “A train is going north at 40mph. It arrives at the station at noon after two hours travel. What time did it arrive at the station?” So again, what time did train arrive? Noon.

    What about the true/false questions with poetry quotations? I thought that was a little funny or random.

  11. The funny thing is, the first time I answered it, I said Noon. With a capital N and period at the end. And it questioned my humanity. The second time I said noon with no punctuation, and I got through.

    I’m not complaining at all – it just gives me the same feeling of butterflies that I felt once when I was walking back into the USA from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and I was detained for a few extra minutes because they didn’t think I talked like an American (The movie “Fargo” hadn’t come out yet, to clue people in about my accent).

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