It seems in this day of instant celebrity status being seen and heard is really all that we are after. It reminds me of those people that stand in the street behind the beat reporter waving their hands and smiling into the camera so they can tell their friends they were on T.V, even if the reporter was talking about an armed robbery.
We all want our 15 minutes. We want people to see and celebrate us, hear what we are saying, praise what we are doing.
I won’t lie, when I first started writing my novel I had hopes of sitting behind a table at the local Borders Bookstore with freshly printed copies of my book stacked on both sides and a long line of fans waiting to get their signed copies. They would smile and compliment me on my awesomeness and at the end of the signing I’d be gleefully spent.
Yep we all want our 15 minutes; we want our time to show off, shine and say to the world, “Look at me.” Lately I’ve been watching the train wrecks in the media. Superstars who are superstars because…well…they just are. When pressed for substance we’re disappointed but somehow drawn to them like the train wreck they are. It’s kinda like the kid who raises his hand in class, waving it like a maniac and when called he just smiles and giggles and can’t for the life remember what he was going to say (or so he says). But all eyes are on him anyway; he’s gotten what he was after.
After I finished my novel I took a long hard look at it and had to evaluate it for substance to make sure I was true to what was inside of me. I had to make sure that it didn’t just contain a couple of thrilling scenes, hot, steamy sex, knowing that at the end the reader would be peeved because they’d wasted their time and money in search of a good story and found nothing. I had to stop focusing on me and work the story. And yes, for the record there are lots of books out there that are just for thrills. Cool. Fine. My thing is, if that’s all there is, the reader needs to know upfront. I want to be authentic and open to myself and my reader. Most of all I want to say what I came to say. And when that is over, the reader can close the book.
I am convinced that those of us who have a calling or an innate need to give something of ourselves on a large scale should be prepared when it is our time. Our gift or calling should be honed, practiced and evaluated. When we share it, it should have been perfected with purpose and intent. Whether what we do is serious or funny, simple or complex our work shouldn’t leave people befuddled or bored or frustrated. It should incite, anger, sadden; it should make things plain, make folks happy and provoke thought. But whatever the case, they shouldn’t be irked that you said you would and didn’t.
Fifteen minutes. For some of us that’s all we ask for. But if you are effective I guarantee your reader will ask you to stay around just a little while longer. That is my hope. That is my prayer.