I just saw a post from one of my home-town buddies. She was an amazing songwriter in the 80s and 90s and someone had written a retrospective of her career, because she was the judge of a songwriting competition. She posted the retrospective on facebook…and then ended up talking at length about how and why she’d lost the same competition, 25 years ago.
I mean, here was this great write up but she just couldn’t be positive about it. That’s what my husband says I do – ‘you talk yourself down’ he says. Maybe that’s just the Midwestern girl in me. Garrison Keillor once said that the proper way for a Midwestern man to announce to his friends that he just bought a fishing boat is to sigh and say, ‘Well, I guess I’d better start looking for a trailer.’
The whole issue of writerly promotion is fraught with difficulty and peril. My colleagues and I have been emailing about it all day. Truman Capote said, ‘A boy must peddle his books,’ but I’m not sure we all want to, or in fact can, peddle. I can sell anything to anybody, but I get terribly embarrassed talking about my own work. And because I’m embarrassed, I’m not all that great at it, I don’t think.
And the whole Publishing industry is in such flux… I’m not sure anybody knows anything right now. I don’t know if pretending you’re the greatest thing is all that useful to people worrying about their jobs.
I think I’ll stick to writing the stuff, and see where that gets me. Oh, and if you’re at a literary function, you’ll find me by the onion dip, if you want to talk. I’ll be looking all confident and happy, but don’t let that fool you…