So apparently The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival was a topic discussion during Mass this morning in the real Grand Prairie. By the real priest. In the real St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. It seems he was a little put out — he’d been expecting perhaps a non-fiction account of the real festival, not a first-person fictional account of a laughingly bad priest.
I’ve written before about the difference between real Grand Prairie and fake Grand Prairie in a post called — wait for it — Reality vs. Fiction in Grand Prairie. This was one of the things that’s been freaking me out leading up to publication and afterward: reaction by real people. Although the characters in the book aren’t based on anyone (other than me), people do make assumptions and feelings can get hurt. It was almost enough to convince me to make up a fake town. But had I made up a fake town, then people would have known what I was talking about anyway. Besides, as a kid I always wanted to live in a town that was mentioned in books. (Opelousas is mentioned in Kerouac’s “On the Road.” I think he shoplifted a loaf of bread there.)
At any rate, though he was irked — and though my aunt was probably a little embarrassed to be sitting there while it went down — he apparently didn’t tell anyone not to buy the book and, in fact, said, “I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy the book.” I think he was just warning people not to expect the real thing. Which is fine by me. (And not just because it probably will end up selling a few more copies.)
And if it’s any consolation, I do feel bad when such things happen. I didn’t set out to offend anyone–just to tell a story and make people laugh.
Still, it’s pretty cool when I think about it. A priest was talking about me during Mass! That’s almost as cool as the good review I received in my hometown paper, The Daily World, today.