I don't know why I had forgotten about this book. Perhaps it was because I wrote it so many years ago, or because it's not the kind of book I wanted to remember. Or then, it could be because my mind just doesn't work like it used to and I actually didn't remember.
But back in 1993 (or was it 1994?) I wrote a small book of crossword puzzles for a game company. It was one of those game books you can find at the supermarket checkout line . . . one of those books your droop-stockin grandmama buys to pass the time while she's watching The Young and the Restless or screamin' at grandpa.
A friend of mine had given me a floppy disk for Christmas that contained software for a crossword puzzle -creating-program. I found it fascinating and, for a couple of months it seemed, I became obsessed with creating crossword puzzles. I eventually gathered together a stack of these things and sent them in to a crossword book publisher. They took the lot (as memory serves) and paid me something like $5 per crossword puzzle (with no by-line). I thought I was rich and would end up making my living as a pastor/crossword puzzler.
Hell's bells. What was I thinking?
Anyway, the book was published, I saw it at the checkout line in the supermarket for some weeks while I was in Evansville. I'd be shopping at the Piggly Wiggly and would sidle up next to an older version of my wife and say, "Hey, lady . . . you wouldn't happen to be lookin' for a little fun tonight would you?"
After being hit in the head with a purse, I would go on to point out that I was actually trying to seduce her into purchasing my book. I'd pick it up off the little rack, the book poised there next to the candy bars and the National Inquirers. "Yeah," I'd say, "I wrote all of those crosswords. Sexy, huh?"
Once I explained myself and my creative gifts, the women always flipped. They shelled out $2.95 for the little book and often asked me to sign their copies, and I liked to imagine them taking me home, them sitting in their squalid little living rooms smoking a cigarello, sipping Jim Beam, and dreaming of the guy who created all of those incredible puzzles.
Well, a writer has to imagine. Otherwise, creating crossword puzzles is much too nerdy.