I’m rolling up my sleeves to create a Working the Glass website for the novel. Not having it was a rookie mistake! Hey, you learn in this publishing business. My Travels with Hermes is close to my heart, but mixes the message and can’t stand as the book’s primary vehicle.
The outliers are mainstream now. People expect underdogs like me to make great gains. And I will. The channel is open right now and I’m going to cruise my ship right through it. Even the tycoon Donald Trump has had his moment in the outlier spotlight but now that’s coming to an end. The fascination factor is starting to ebb on The Donald. People have had their fill and see there was nothing much there in their rearview mirrors.
Where does this great wave, put me as I embark on public life after writing a novel? I’ve certainly had many twists and turns and have a compelling bunch of plot points in my journey to write this over the last 17 years. That’s good for me as I launch a novel. We’re on the verge of something today.
What’s the measure of self worth? If you look at a society that’s addicted to finance and money, you’d think that was it. To a lot of people, that’s their sum contribution to life and the world. And definer of self. But as the Chinese economic collapse demonstrated even last week, people who were extremely wealthy lost it over time. People lost everything in fact. The lesson here is fortune comes and goes. And it’s no place to put your grand hopes.
There has to be a better way. How do you be as a writer out in the world writer promoting yourself? I read something recently that had a novel approach to this. How the World Sees You, written by Sally Hogshead.
It’s good in that it shows you how you are seen by others. That’s your reputational self. It’s an important part of the quotient.
You do exercises and determine your type. I’m dynamic, inclusive and engaging. That’s pretty accurate. Hogshead gives each type a name and mine is A People’s Champion. This doesn’t translate into the persona and figure you associate with being a writer. Not a writer posture. Rather it’s kind of like a being rock star figure and public phenomena than anything else. But it is who I am. It’s going to work great for me
But being my enthusiastic and lyrical self on the trail like some Irish poet or politician will only get me so far. It’s more complicated. You have to fullness. People aren’t evil, it’s just we have hidden dimensions. Dark part has to be honored and balanced with the brightness. I’ve called it dynamic tension.
Just be your exuberant self and it will all work out. Just be your rockstar self and everything will open for you. For one thing, Hogshead book assumes everyone sees the world that way. People are different types and if you channel all this energy in one direction with others, a good number not your type will be dismissive, not out of evil so much as, they are threatened. Then you have cynics.
Moreover, your reputation encompasses just one side of who you are. Hogshead forgets about a whole other side of how we operate in the world. That is: How do you perceive yourself to be? That’s just as important to consider as your reputation. So the bifurcated way (external and internal) is more accurate to how we operate in the world.
This type is a great campaigner. Kind of like a Bobby Kennedy figure but this doesn’t translate into the persona you associate with being a writer. Not a writer posture. It’s more politician than anything else.
I’m Irish and Czech so let’s look at both sides of my heritage as examples. Patrick Pearce was an Irish poet who led the 1916 Easter Uprising in Irish. He was being his lyrical and enthusiastic self. And even got up on a chair and read poetry as the Uprising against the British was underway. He was lyrical and enthusiastic but no had groundedness. The Uprising was crushed in three days and he was executed.
More sensible was another writer from the other side of my heritage, the Czech writer Vaclav Havel. Like Pearce, Havel had a good understanding of what’s important in life.
Havel was equally philosophical and effusive. But grounded. You need that balance. The architect of the Velvet Revolution in Prague in 1989 had better understanding of the forces he was dealing with in the desperate Communist authorities. He was victorious and eventually was elected President of the newly democratic Czechoslovakia.