I’ve been ruminating on this here daily blogging, and already on the third day I’ve figured out that one of the true appeals of the experiment for me – oddly enough – is knowing that in all likelihood this entry is being read by next to zero people. I call this “odd” because most of the writing I’ve done online, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to get out there with the cybermegaphone and shill the shit out of it. (Also I know that no one uses the word “cyber” any more, but “cybermegaphone” makes autocorrect have kittens, and that’s always fun.)
Self-promotion doesn’t come easy for me – in fact, that may be the most under- of understatements I’ve ever written. As Amanda Palmer points out in her book, The Art of Asking, everyone wants to be seen, in an existential sense, but not everyone wants to be looked at. That’s me. And it’s weird and contradictory, because apparently I don’t mind everyone reading my innermost thoughts – but yelling, “HEY LOOK AT MY INNERMOST THOUGHTS!” makes me feel gross, grosser, grossest.
However, when you self-publish, like I have in the past, that sort of floggage has to come with the territory. You’ve got no publishing house boosterism, no PR flack – it’s just you and your cybermegaphone, screaming “Look at meeeee!” through gritted teeth and bone-rattling fear (with just a soupçon of nausea). And sometimes it’s not even cyber-, and sometimes you don’t even get a megaphone. If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be at the Los Angeles Book Fair, chatting up strangers and hawking my literary wares, I would’ve laughed. And cried. Probably mostly cried. Honestly, when I think about doing it again, it still mostly makes me want to cry. But I think I may be ovulating, too.
Anyhow, it’s a strangely pleasant respite to be writing for a potential audience that may or may not exist (which I guess applies to most writers’ audiences, WHY YOU ACTING LIKE YOU SPECIAL, MERE?), but even more wonderful is the relief of not having to “sell it, baby.” Hollywood normalizes this commodification to the point where you feel like writing is only half your job – the other half is the “business” part they never fucking let you forget in “show business”.
Here’s what I would ask of you, Dear Possibly Nonexistent Reader, if you are indeed reading this with Actually Existent Eyeballs:
Don’t tell me you’re here.
Let’s keep this a secret between you and you.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful – of course I like it when people read my stuff, and I like it even more when they enjoy it – but I have a feeling this experiment is only going to work if I don’t feel a lot of outside pressure about it, hence my decision not to shill. Please feel free to read to your heart’s content – I promise I’ll enjoy it somehow – psychically, karmically – but if at all possible, leave me vacuum-sealed in my ignorance.
I think I can be more honest that way.