Yesterday I got a newsletter from Meghan Ward over at Writerland that I had to pass on:
My colleague here at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, Diana Kapp, is making and selling beautiful, unique necklaces for just $15 and donating ALL of the profits to help build schools for girls in Afghanistan.? Buy a necklace, and?ALL PROFITS? go to Afghan Connection.
“Feel Teal” necklace
Here’s the link to Diana’s etsy page, where you can read more about Jewels for Schools and buy a necklace! It’s a great cause, and the necklaces are super cool, too.
In other news, I just finished Popcorn blogger Tara Conklin’s debut novel The House Girl. I have to give it a plug. Read my Goodreads review, here. It’s a beautiful and extremely well-crafted novel with two likeable and believable heroines, and I recommend it highly.
Now I’m reading Kimber Simpkins’s memoir Full. So many good books, these days.
I just wanted to make a plug for what’s happening over on popcorntheblog these days. Last week Tara Conklin posted a beautiful essay called Keep Writing that you’ve got to check out. And today I am blogging about Magical Realism and the History of Fiction (which is wayyyy more interesting than it sounds!). Reading recommendations included (George Saunders and Karen Russell, anyone?).
I realize I got a little out of hand with that whole Medium Fiction thing, posting here, there, and everywhere with pleas to read “Shunyata” and vote for me. It was a tough contest, because in order to get read, I really had to self-promote. It may come as a surprise to learn that I loathe self-promotion, or at least, I loathe the point where you travel from casual, appropriately-proud asker-of-favors to overbearing, obnoxious, and desperate.
Forgive me if I reached that point.
We’ve been talking about this over on popcorntheblog, because contributor Tara Conklin is about to have a book out and we all want to support her as much as we can (and of course, by promoting Tara, we also promote popcorn, which is thus also self-promotion). It feels easy-peasy to support someone close to me, another writer whose work I love–I do it here all the time, after all–but much less easy to swallow and ask everyone to support ME. It makes you wonder which successful writers and artists had a huge hand in their own success and which just got lucky. Someone told me the other day that Cheryl Strayed is a shameless self-promoter. How so? How did this person know? Would Wild have been any less successful if Strayed hadn’t gone to bat for herself? (I loved that book; I think it was worthy of self-promotion.)
Self-promotion is like networking, that other horribly uncomfortable occupation that one must engage in in order to get ahead. My friend Jesse Taggert is an excellent networker. Sometimes I think I should hire her to tell me what to do with my career. She’s the one, for example, who suggested I email the head of Medium just to casually say hi and tell her about my experience with the contest. She’s always got a plan to open a door.
Me networking with a dog.
Then again, as she said to me before I sent that email, “Take me with a grain of salt. It’s easier to be glib and enthusiastic about others’ actions versus your own.”
Which is, of course, true. I think most of us, at our core, just wish doors would open for us without the need for networking or self-promotion. Unfortunately I don’t think the world really works that way.
Your turn, readers: share your deepest secrets and stories of self-promotion. I am all ears.
Couple interesting things you all should check out.
Today’s post on popcorn, by Tara Conklin, is “My Top Five Books for Fall.” Recommendations for what to read this rainy, cool, wonderful season. She distills the much-awaited and much-acclaimed down to five, including the new novel by Zadie Smith. I won’t spoil the rest, but get your browsing self over to popcorn to investigate.
Bay Area folks, put on your calendar the November 3 screening of the short film “Sully Marooned” at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. (the film is less than ten minutes long; it will show with a bunch of others at the same time). This is the second film by my friend Chrissy Loader, who writes about music, love, loss, and frailty. This one is a hit–I loved it. Looks like you can buy tickets here.
I'm working from the premise that motherhood is not just all diapers, tantrums, and setting limits. It's interesting. Okay, sometimes.