>“…This is Mr Nesbitt of Harlow New Town. Mr Nesbit would you stand up please. (after a pause – nothing happens) Mr Nesbitt has learnt the value of not being seen. However he has chosen a very obvious piece of cover….”<
Ahhh, classic Python! I think I first saw this particular sketch (“How Not To Be Seen”) when I was ten or eleven years old. For those unfamiliar, I suggest giving it a look on YouTube; it will be the best 2 minutes and 35 seconds you could ever waste. This sketch was the perfect blend of silly, satire, and slapstick for my tweenage self, and three decades later–it’s still got game. That is the glory of good satire (and most wines)–it gets even better with the passage of time.
These days, the words of this sketch echo through my consciousness for reasons other than my fascination with that satirical take on ‘Marco Polo’. Back during those awkward years, the interesting irony is that my geeky teen self was tremendously adept at not being seen–it was kind of my M-O. Now, that I am (allegedly) all grown up, my recent forays into the land of writing and publishing is demanding an M-O revision. After all, we all know what happened to Mr. Nesbitt: hiding simply will no longer do.
Writing books, as it turns out, is the easiest part of being a writer. The real ‘heavy lifting’ comes with all the dogged promotion, and marketing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written a great book if it is not easy to find and buy. You have to set foot into bookstores, (but NOT shop for books) and ask to speak to the person who has the power to offer you a consignment contract. You have to find all kinds of social media, and ‘cultivate an online presence’. You have to throw your social awkward shyness to the wind and say things like, “ummm I wrote a boook….”
In a nutshell, you have to unlearn how not to be seen.
Today, I managed to arrange my first consignment deal. It was mostly painless, but there was one moment I was having flashbacks of the time a cranky and impatient elderly shopper tried mowing me down with her walker. Fortunately, it was near the end of a very intense, and information saturated conversation with a store purchase manager. I looked behind me and there was a line up of seniors–waiting for their turn to ‘check out’. Whoa–poor choice of words for that demographic–they were waiting to make their purchase (that’s better!). In the past, the most violent and aggressive incidents of consumer rage I have witnessed have been among the aging and elderly. Many are not above using their canes and walkers as weapons. They have no patience for the youth who purchase with exact change. They are MEAN.
For some reason today, the cranky shoppers of advanced age were hanging out at stores other than the bookstore. These beings waiting patiently behind me were all smiling. They were smiling at me the way I smile at puppies and kittens. Their heads were tilted a little to the side, and their grins were benevolent and a little indulgent.
I can only hope they found me so gosh darned adorable that they were compelled to buy my book. Perhaps it is a lesson: the first lesson of being seen…
Author of Survival of the Flirting Impaired–will you stand up please… 😉