PJ paints. She has painted a few classic cars in her time. Roger Zelazny liked the paintings. He included her work in his Amber stories and met her one day for lunch.
Two weeks later I got the notice that the book had been returned and I drove to the library in a matter of minutes. After I got the book, I settled comfortably into an old, overstuffed, cracked leather chair in a quiet room in the library. I scanned the book and on page 22 read,
“I bought a painting awhile back, by a lady named P. J. It’s of a red, 57 Chevy. I like it a lot.”
I smiled a huge toothy smile and leaned over in my chair and stamped my red high-top Converse sneakers up and down to keep from screaming out loud. I left the library immediately and ran to the parking lot jumping for joy!
On further inspection, at home, I found other mention of me and of my painting. Zelazny described the painting, even “brushing off the snow off the left fin of the Chevy”. He called it “my PJ painting”.
A few months later a friend told me that Zelazny had written another book in his ‘Amber’ series. I raced to the bookstore and looked for the newest volume. It was called Prince of Chaos. I casually mentioned to the bookseller that I was the “PJ” that Zelazny had written about, trying out my fifteen minutes of “fame”. She, being long-time friends with Zelazny, told me he had been trying to contact me. She phoned him right away and put me on the line with him. He told me not to buy a copy of his book and that he would give me a signed copy AND he wanted to meet me in person. We made a lunch date for a week later. I was thrilled!
We met outside a Thai restaurant in downtown Santa Fe. I recognized him from the jacket cover and he looked just like himself! He had beautiful eyes and seemed very shy.
We chatted our way through Thai food with his love of the ’57 Chevy’ as our main topic of conversation. After we finished our lunch, he asked me to do an illustration for one of his stories for the magazine, Amazing Stories. He also gave me a signed copy of his latest book that read, ”For PJ and her magic paintbrush. Many thanks, Roger Zelazny”.
It was a wonderful lunch and I will never forget it or Mr. Zelazny or the recognition he gave me.