Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Memory of Roger Zelazny & John Colter's Ears

Roger and I were in Albuquerque in 1994 signing copies of Wilderness which had just come out.  A lady wearing a huge cowboy hat came up to us and asked us to sign her book.  While Roger was signing, she said, "Recognize me?" I gave her a pretty good stare, then said, "I'm sorry, I don't."  She turned to Roger and he smiled and shook his head.  The lady said, "Maybe this'll help" and she removed her cowboy hat. Neither one of us knew who she was, and she saw that. "I am John Colter's great-great-great niece," she explained. "Our book is a work of fiction," I said, "and I've only seen one photograph of John Colter, so I'm not sure if I'd catch any resemblances." Roger chuckled and the lady asked us to look at her ears. After we gave her ears a good look, she said, "Now do you see it? It was passed on down to me. I have John Colter's ears." "Indeed," Roger said, "I think you do."  That satisfied her. "You know," she mentioned, "I think you both got every little detail just right." She looked fretful, then shook her head. "Except for the ears." I suggested that we did not mention the ears because they never came up in the narrative. "And that's the problem," she admitted.  "Maybe you can put John's big ears in a later edition." Well, that new edition is now published after three previous ones in different languages, and still the ears go unmentioned. I hope she'll forgive us if we leave it that way.

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