Hen&inkblots: A Literary Blog

Steal this book.

September 12, 2017 by Erzsi Deak

When I was 6 years-old, my crowd of Los Feliz Elementary School first-graders convinced shy (very shy!) me to go with them to Woolworth’s and steal what we called Little Big Books [I can only now find Big Little Books (R) online and they don’t look like the books the 6-year-olds were after]. I was after Tony Foster. Or was it Forester?* Clearly 6 years-old was a long time ago. But I remember perfectly when my supposed friends scattered and I got caught because the Little Big Book I was sneaking off the shelf fell out of my (little) white sweater and I had a very large threatening brick-house of a woman scowling and bellowing down at me, “DO YOU WANT TO WORK IN THE ROCK MINES?” (Managing not to throw up on her thick-soled sensible black shoes, I think I said, “No.”) Then she took me to a back room and left me there. Alone. With the door open. I tossed the Little Big Book for good and ran out those Woolworth’s double swinging doors back to school, my white sweater screaming behind me, and hid under the slide. Because a late-1960s slide as a hiding place makes so much sense. My thieving friends came to find me and couldn’t understand where I’d gone. I can’t remember if they were carrying (books). “She was going to send me to the rock mines!” I sobbed. (I like to think that Tony F. tried to comfort me, but the memory is hazy — or just not showing itself.) I was sick with worry and never went back into a Woolworth’s anywhere until at least 20 years later (and that was in a different state). You don’t know how personally thankful I was when Woolworth’s generally closed.

But I digress.

I read a lot of manuscripts as a literary agent. I’d like to read a manuscript that my first-grader friends would want to steal (as I’m obviously incapable). Check out the submissions page for details. Send me amazing stuff.


*I’ll save another Tony F. story for another day. It has to do with being on a TV. If you’re interested. And the Candy Cane Game.