Putting your art on public display is a lot like being the national arm-wrestling champion who wrote a book: You care, but where is everyone?
Trust me, I tie those together with only one shameless plug.
Earlier this month, I was at Grounds for Coffee on 25th Street, waiting for crowds of people to come in and admire the lovely photographs and stencil artwork my elder son, Jeremy, my younger son, Ben, and I had put up. The place was not exactly crowded. Maybe it was too late for coffee? Or too early for art?
Whatever, owner Sadie Clifford is a dear to let struggling artists show, and I show my gratitude by buying her coffee.
While sipping French roast and listening to the walls echo, I noticed Angela Miller behind a table with a pile of books. She was hoping someone would not only notice her but also buy her books, which she had written.
She was as untroubled by admirers as I.
I bought a book, we talked, and I discovered that Angela, one of those slender, pale, blond women I think of as “wispy,” is a national arm-wrestling champion.
Her book, I need to stress, is not about arm wrestling.
It’s a fantasy dream story called “Quest Holders,” about spirits and fairies and swords and wolves. Evil forces and magic abound.
So here’s a published author AND a national arm-wrestling champion (first and second place, 65-kg class, right arm, 2012 USAF Unified National Arm Wrestling Championships, Reno) living in Ogden, Utah, and nobody even knows she’s here.
Angela got into arm wrestling because her family was active in it back when arm wrestling was part of the now-gone Ogden street festival. She went on to win a string of local and national awards.
Her book has a less athletic history.
Angela wrote it last year after having an extremely vivid dream brought on by job stress. It was a long, involved dream that stuck with her after she awoke.
“I was telling my neighbor about my dream, and it took me an hour to explain my dream to her, and she said, ‘Angela, you need to put that dream into a book.’”
She went back inside and started typing.
“And every night when I went to sleep, my dream just picked up where I left off,” she said.
This sleep-type cycle went on for three weeks. She shipped her manuscript off and found herself choosing among five publishers. Her appearance at the coffee shop was one of her first signing events.
Is the book any good?
I’m still reading. The first couple chapters are fun. Angela said she has gotten good feedback on Facebook and other social media sites.
She’s working on three more in the series, still using the “write what I dreamed last night” method, which means even she doesn’t know how it all comes out. She has signing events at Hastings in Ogden on Nov. 3 and Barnes & Noble in Layton on Nov. 9.
If she turns out to have written the next “Hunger Games,” you saw her here first. She’s also training for more arm wrestling, which, I agree, should get a lot more media attention.
I might also mention (this is the shameless plug I promised) that the lovely photography by Jeremy Trentelman and me, and stencil-paintings by Ben Trentelman, will be on display at Grounds for Coffee until the end of the month.
Buy lots of coffee. Sadie is a nice person who, just a thought here, would do well to host an arm-wrestling tournament.
The Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. He can be reached at 801-625-4232 or email@example.com. He also blogs at www.standard.net.