the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Talking to Real People

OK, so where were we? Oh, yeah, I was moping around my apartment in queens, writing posts about bringing hookers home for cake with my mother and getting trolled by some crazy person.

Yesterday, I said “enough is enough.” I was living in New York City now, the “Big Apple,” and it was time for me to live the life that was I was destined for — hobnobbing with the best and brightest in the big city.

So, off I went — from the land of Archie Bunker, the Nanny, and Ugly Betty, over the bridge (or rather under the river in the subway) to the Island of Manhattan.

As I took in all the neon lights and Saturday night hub-bub, my depression melted away as a fast as an ice cream cone in Coney Island in August.

I had a event to attend. I was going to NYU for the book launch party of the novel Petty Magic by Camille DeAngelis. I met Camille via Maggie Dammit and Sarah Miller on Twitter. Camille is utterly charming online and in real life, and I can’t wait to start reading her new literary fantasy. Largehearted Boy recently wrote about her novel, saying:

“If you read Camille DeAngelis’s debut novel Mary Modern, you experienced firsthand the author’s talent for creating truly unique and clever fictional worlds. Her second novel, Petty Magic, is equally impressive, inventively combining the paranormal, historical flashbacks, and a love story for the ages. A smart and funny page turner, Petty Magic will appeal to all ages of readers from young adults to senior citizens, and everyone in between.”

It was an honor to be invited to the book party.

One problem. I have hardly left my apartment for the previous two weeks, so I was overly-hyper to be in a room with so many other smart people. And since so much of my social interaction recently has been limited to Twitter and Facebook, I was out of shape in my ability to have normal social conversation.

After chatting with the witty Camille, I found myself talking with another attractive, intelligent woman with an open face, the type of person who instantly made me feel comfortable enough to open up to her. So I talked to her. And I talked. And I talked. I talked about New York. And LA. And books. And politics. And Facebook. And my mother. And Sophia. And living in my childhood bedroom in Queens. It was as if I was still on Twitter and I could chat all day without fear of being unfollowed by 98% of you. I mentioned that I met Camille online, and praised the blogosphere as a place where one can meet others as a meeting of minds, where you connect rather spiritually without holding any of the superficial stereotypes or real-life misconceptions you might have in the real world. It’s as if you know the “heart and mind and soul” of the person rather than the physical entity.

“I remember the first time I met a fellow blogger,” I said. “He was this guy who lived in Northern California. We really bonded. One day, he came for a visit, so I went to meet him at the airport, and when I opened up the door to the car and looked at him, I said, “Oh my God, you’re black!”

There were uncomfortable moment with my friendly listener at the party. I could feel the humor hissing out of my conversation balloon. I immediately back-stepped, trying to explains myself.

“It’s not that it really mattered that he was black.” I announced. “I just was surprised that he was. He had a European name. It was almost Swedish, so I imagined him very differently. Not that you can’t be a black guy with a Swedish name. I was just saying that you don’t know who a blogger is until you meet him, so you have no preconceived stereotypes. Uh, not that I have any preconceived stereotypes of African-Americans.”

I was digging a hole to China. I decided to change the subject.

“And, so, uh, what do you do?” I asked.

“I’m Camille’s literary agent” she answered matter-of-factly.


I figured my best approach was to continue asking questions about her, instead of talking about myself and putting my foot in my mouth.

“So, are you originally from New York?”

“No, from Florida.”

“Hey, my mother started going to Florida every winter. To Boca Raton!”

“Well, I grew up in Northern Florida. Not that many people know much about that part of Florida.”

“Sure they do! Isn’t that where that pastor lives who wanted to burn all the Korans?”

Yeah. I’m smooth.

Anyway — thank you Camille for a lovely evening.

Neilochka with Camille

I know many of my blogging friends have books that will be published this year, (such as you — Kyran). I hope these blogging friends will also invite me along to whatever literary parties they attend in New York, so I can chat with THEIR agents!


  1. Rene Foran

    I am so proud of you!
    The more you get out and socialize, the more comfortable you’ll become around people.
    Plus, talking with them will be a lot easier 🙂

  2. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    I’m still amazed you prefer Twitter to real-life interaction.

    I went on Twitter today and it was 90 percent people pimping their work (books, art, posts), shouting their political positions, evangelizing their health views, or acting pissy and neurotic. I always feel like Twitter is a party where everyone shouts at a wall.

  3. unmitigated me (m.a.w.)

    Oh my God! You’re Jewish!

    • V-Grrrl

      As soon as he said his mother wintered in Boca Raton, I knew he was Jewish too! ; )

  4. Lynn

    We’re a lot alike, hahaha.

  5. Twenty Four At Heart

    Is the lollipop she’s holding of any significance?

  6. Kyran

    Well, now my expectations are raised. You better start working on your new party piece. 😉

  7. Hanna

    Dude, you trapped the poor lady! Have you ever heard of mingling? She was probably signaling to her friends to rescue her…did you notice any odd hand signals? Either that, or she was hanging out with you because you were “safe” and kept the other dudes from hitting on her!

  8. GrandeMocha

    Good job gettin’ out there!

  9. Bill

    But did you score with her?

  10. Poor Fish Girl

    Favorite line from this entry: “so I was overly-hyper to be in a room with –so many other smart people–“. Love it, lol! Sounds like you had an interesting night, New York seems amazing.

  11. Missives From Suburbia

    I’ve noticed that the number of stupid things I say when in the company of adults is directly proportionate to the number of days I’ve been home alone with my children.

    It looks like she liked you. Uhh…if that photo was taken AFTER you talked, that is.

  12. Jane Gassner

    This should be subtitled: A Real Person Talking to Real People. As opposed to: An Uber-Cool Denizen of the Big Apple at Yet Another Pub Party.

  13. wench

    brother – you SO looked like you were having fun! Real people are where it’s at, and while it’s great to be able to communicate with friends all over the world – I needs me some hugs and laughter to keep me going 😉

  14. Marinka

    If I ever publish a book, I’ll definitely invite you to the party. Especially if I become black in the process.

  15. teahouseblossom

    Was your fellow blogger Marcus Samuelsson?

    He’s totally Swedish and black and hot. And can cook a really delicious dinner.

  16. Melanie

    I’ve been hibernating for most of the past year. Haven’t checked out my fav blogs in months. I’ve missed yours. Thanks for still being here 🙂

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