It seems I’m coming late to the new year, and we are already half-past January. The wave-shift from publishing the book of letters is still in process, as I’ve had to change from editing and preparing the book itself, and put on a marketing hat. I just hope this marketing hat isn’t too silly-looking.
It goes against everything my mother ever taught me about good manners, but these times are very different. What used to be called “boasting” and was frowned upon, is now “self-promotion”. What used to be called “name-dropping” is now “networking”. The game has always been the same, actually. I’m learning to overcome the barrier inside myself that says “don’t call attention to yourself” “don’t outstay your welcome” and other such adages that were drilled into me at a very early age. Now some people hire others to boast for them – the PR people or the advertisers who do this for a living. Without embarrassment. I’m not able to afford that.
I realize I need to do it for the sake of the book, nothing to do with me at all. I can get my mind around that. I certainly feel no qualms about promoting, recommending, and lavishing praise on the work of others. I genuinely want people to see and know about all the books, movies, sites, objects, etc. that are wonderful to me, and I just naturally want to enthusiastically share them. But when it comes to my own work, I feel the block, and have to use inner force to move past it.
One way I’ve done it is by telling myself that this is for Shamcher and his work (which it is) and I’m just a messenger of that (and not the only messenger either.) This works for me. Another help is to realize, as I have, that I actually didn’t even write this book, it wasn’t written with an audience in mind, but was always an intimate correspondence. Even though Shamcher asked me to publish the letters someday, and he always saw the book somewhere in his mind’s eye, it didn’t make any difference to what we wrote to each other at all. We never wrote for the public. So with that in mind, I can promote the documentation of this relationship – not as a book about MY relationship but about the inner impulse and resonance of the abstract message behind and within the letters.
So maybe the marketing hat isn’t so silly after all. I’m just helping the book reach the people that would like to know about it and to read it….
And for me to think that my little feelings and awkwardness are more important than the message within this book – now THAT attitude is foolish – I’m the one that’s silly! The marketing hat can be graceful and beautiful – and for the next little while it is the required dress code for the day.