Thursday, February 11, 2016

Checking in

 Hi, there.

I know, I know: The radio silence has been deafening. I apologize. I’m sure you’ve all been aimlessly wandering around and wondering how you can possibly fill the void left behind in the absence of these rambling, word-bloated updates. That, or “Saturday” and your support thereof has slipped completely from your mind like that one show…what was it called again? It had that one guy. Anyway.

Don’t worry: I haven’t forgotten the people who helped get me this far, and I want you to know: As soon as I’m a mega-colossal-superstar, I will.

So, I’m going to try to send out updates more often. Don’t worry: you can always unsubscribe whenever you like. But if I were you, I’d keep watching. Mostly because this is going to be like one of those crazy Japanese game shows or an episode of “Cops” where the people involved will have awkward things happen to them over and over again. You watch and wonder as they’re humiliated repeatedly and shout at the picture tube, “Don’t you ever learn from any of these experiences?” But they never do. If you’re anything like me, there’s part of you that finds that delightful. Only this time, it’s at my expense. Which is even more delightful. But only for one of us.

Lately, I’ve been working on a presentation to give to bookstores when I visit. “Saturday” isn’t really a “read-aloud” book, so the speech is about how “Saturday” got started, the process, and the like. I’ve only given the speech once and it went…well, it went. I prepared for weeks. Ten people showed up. 20% of those in attendance were my parents. I was close to going out and paying homeless people to sit in the audience. But I’m an illustrator, so I didn’t have any cash on me right then and there. Or anywhere else.

I’ve been invited to speak at a TEDx conference. I’ve also been invited to have a show at an East Coast college in the spring. Both of these things are because of the book. I’m grateful for the opportunities, but they’re also terrifying. Having people look at me while I say words is not my favorite. But I suppose I’ll have to don my big boy pants. It’s just that, when there’s a group of people looking at me, it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing my big boy pants. Or any pants at all. And that’s awkward for all of us.

I’ve also been contacting bookstores to see if they’d like to carry “Saturday”.

Approaching bookstores turns out to be a lot like dating. My experiences with dating, at any rate.

Here’s an phone exchange I actually had trying to date in high school. I wish I were making this up. For the sake of privacy, let’s call the girl Bee Arthur. And we’ll say my name is Burt Reynolds. No, wait. You already know who I am, so I don’t need a disguise.

Bee Arthur: “Hello?”
Me: “Uhh…Hi…Bee?”
Bee Arthur: “Yes?”
Me: “It’s me, Noah, from school?”
Bee Arthur: “Yes?”
Me: “Hey…I was wondering if you’d like to get together sometime and hang out.”
Bee Arthur: “Why?”
Me (confidence evaporating): “Uhhh….so we could get to know each other. You know…uh….and be friends.”
Bee Arthur: (Sharply) “I’ve got friends.”
Me: “Uhh…ok. Well, uh…cool. I’ll see you at school or something, then.”


Turns out Bee Arthur was kind of a jerk. Actually, that’s not really fair. We were in high school, after all, when social skills are usually…underdeveloped. And she just got a call from some guy she didn’t know who was asking her to hang out, which was probably off-putting. Fortunately, I forgot completely about the whole thing and I haven’t held on to that confidence-ruining moment all these years like a jalapeno eating at the lining of my emotional stomach.

(Cries quietly).

Anyway, I’ll meet a bookstore I think is interesting and find out we have a lot in common. Then I’ll think, “I could try to engineer a ‘chance’ meeting by showing up and pretending it was a coincidence, but that feels a little like stalking. Better to just be honest and upfront. I’ll call and let the bookstore know I’m interested. “Saturday” has a lot of good qualities, after all. If I could just get the bookstore to notice those qualities.”

Then I call. Just getting people to look at the book is difficult. And the rejections still sting like getting Clorox brand shampoo in your eye. “We don’t have the space for your book” feels a little like “I have to wash my hair”. “Well”, I think, horribly butt-hurt, “if you’re not going to be honest, I hope you use Clorox brand shampoo when you’re washing your hair. And I hope you get some in your eye.”

That’s not fair, either. Rejecting someone, particularly a sincere someone, is awkward. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve only ever been on the receiving end of said rejections.

(Cries quietly.)

I’ll keep at it, even though I’m starting to feel like Jack Lemmon’s character in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. I’m not sure who Alec Baldwin’s counterpart would be in this scenario. Anyone competent to do the job of marketing, probably. I’ve also decided I’m going to enjoy the marketing and promotion side. It has to be done, after all. It would be silly to spend pert near a decade on a book and then not bother to let people know it exists.

Yup, here I go. I’m a gonna enjoy this awful marketing. Sorry, that ‘awful’ just slipped out. Ok, enjoyment of stupid marketing starts now. Shoot. Actually, I’ll tell you how I’m going to enjoy the marketing of “Saturday” with a joke:

How do you fit an elephant in a Safeway grocery bag?

Answer: Take the “S” out of “Safe” and the “F” out of “Way”.

I’ll give you a minute to consider that one.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep at it. I’ve got two scoops each of stubborn and stupid, after all.

Welp, I think that about wraps ‘er up. I think we’ve all learned something here. And I think I’ll let Corey Hart tell you what that is:

Thanks, Corey. BTW, if anyone reading this plays a mean sax, I’m looking for a good solo to accompany a montage of me looking back over my shoulder with as much dreaminess in my eyes as I can muster.


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