A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Staples

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Stables Office Supply Store

My husband and I had been talking for some time about getting a new laptop, so one rainy afternoon a few weeks ago, we drove down to our local Staples in Brier Creek, North Carolina. The young tech my husband was speaking to had his back to me. I was looking through some of their items, drooling over this or that, (oooo wouldn’t that look nice in my office! If only I had the room!). The first time I had a chance to look at the young man was when together, they brought the chosen laptop to the register. I felt my mouth open in surprise, and I think I stopped breathing. For low and behold the tech looked just like Jim O’Flannery. My book, The Wild Mountain Thyme had just been released from the Wild Rose Press a few days before, and Jim O’Flannery is the hero in the book. O’Flannery, is most likely a made up name. I have never heard it in all the my reading about Ireland, and I have had a real love for that island nation most of my life. But, Jim O’Flannery, just like his name, was a product of my own imagination. I haven’t spoken to writers that this has happened to; that you meet face-to-face with someone you’ve made up, someone who is living inside your head. To find someone in the flesh, as it were, is quite a jolt to the senses . I didn’t say anything at time, but I kept thinking about this tech who looked like someone I had made up in my head more than a decade before.
Before I could change my mind, I hustled on down to the Staples and found the young man again working behind the tech counter. I went up to him with a tentative, ‘please don’t think I’m crazy, but you look just like the hero in my book.’ I had a few postcards I had made up with the cover of the book and a blurb on the back and handed him one. He said ,’wow I’ll look this up.’ I told him that he was probably the only real person I’d ever seen who looked just like the person in my head.
As a writer, you live in your head a lot, and to be faced with something that is three-dimensional , as I said, is quite a jolt.
Before I left the store, the tech came up to me and said,’ now who am I again? (in the book), I’m very flattered.’ I hope he didn’t think that I saw him last week and wrote the book and got it published in that small amount of time before I told him about it. After he told me that, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that when Jim O’Flannery first came into my mind he’d, the tech, had either been in grade school or hadn’t been born yet.
Jim O’Flannery, in The Wild Mountain Thyme, is a flawed character. He has warts just like the rest of us and puts his foot in his mouth more often than is good for him. But he sure is a grand, beautiful man, and to see a three-dimensional speaking person just like the one I made up in my head decades before was something that still makes my jaw slide south.
You can get The Wild Mountain Thyme, from the Wild Rose Press or from Amazon. And I have it on good authority, that there will soon be an audio rendition of the book.

The Wild Mountain Thyme:



I’d certainly love to hear what you think of the book.
Let me know, you can reach me at

2 Replies to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Staples”

  1. I am certain I wouldn’t have the guts to actually speak to the person at all! It works the other way with me–I see someone and I use something from that person to make a character. But it all gets melded together with bits from other people so the one person isn’t recognizable at the end. But an interesting experience, to be sure.

    1. To be completely honest, it took three times of going in and looking at him across the store before I actually spoke to him!!! My husband, who’s read the book, didn’t think he looked like him. I suppose it’s what’s in your mind eye.

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