At Rose City Comic Con yesterday, I witnessed a moment that was typical, funny, appalling, and inspiring at the same time. It looked like this:
Ramón Terrell, who stood next to me for two days selling books this weekend, was talking to a potential customer. The shopper had learned that Ramón is an actor and in particular that he plays one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men in Once Upon a Time. She asked many questions, including gently urging him to reveal spoilers about the upcoming seasons (he very professionally demurred). Then she asked what he was doing at the con.
“I write novels,” Ramón says.
Shopper: “Oh, is that your other hobby?”
This was typical — creatives deal with not getting taken seriously all the time. This is what animates the great lyric by James McMurtry: Are those songs real, or did you make ’em up?
It was also funny, because I don’t think the shopper realized what she had said, but an entire row of authors standing nearby heard her and were outraged.
It was appalling, because in one sentence this person managed to clearly state that not one, but two creative endeavors of Ramón’s were both hobbies. As if, as a hobby, one can get cast as a recurring character in a major TV show… and also write multiple full-length fantasy novels, getting picked up by a mid-sized independent press.
And finally, it was an inspiring moment. Because I know Ramón heard what she said. But he just smiled and talked to her about his books, until she had heard all she wanted to and wandered off.
Why? Because Ramón Terrell is a professional.