It’s rare these days that someone else makes something to promote my work. A flyer may not seem like much but I was touched when the one above arrived a couple days ago. I’m so used to doing all the dirty work of shilling myself. The guy who put it together also released a tape of me reading. This event is related to that tape.
When my first book came out eleven years ago I was already forty-one. I didn’t have a pipe dream about a literary career like ones you see in movies. By that time I’d already been an unknown painter for twenty years. I knew the score. A pivot to another dying mode of expression was not a fast track to anywhere but I likely expected that first book to open some doors. It did. But not to any room or building I expected.
I’m about to publish my fifthe book in four years. One reason for the hyperactivity is that plague lockdown removed the possibility of interaction with others. I was free to just work. The other reason was a backlog of material going back seven years. In that time I pitched projects to publishers and agents and went part way into several books. They all came to nothing. Then I started making books myself soup to nuts and things clicked into place.
After I wrapped up this new one I daydreamed a short time about getting someone else to put skin in the game. But that didn’t pan out. Now that I really know how the sausage gets made I’m not waiting in line at the butcher’s anymore. Something would have to change drastically for me to do so ever again. All I know is I like making books. I hope to continue to do so.
This weekend I’m meeting people I’ve never met before in a place I’ve never been. They only know me through the books I’ve made. Had I stuck to only painting, this would not be happening. It’s a door publishing opened for me. Maybe my new friends will show me some novel way to keep going.
Kansas is a fictional place to me as I type this. It will be real a couple days from now.