When One Is Enough (Not Eight)

Bueller? Bueller? Frye? Frye? (Ed. Note: Was I the only person to say WTF in that scene when, in a big public high school class, there were exactly zero students with a last name between BU and FR?)

In a recent article on the good ol’ Onion’s website, they definitely touched a nerve in yours truly with “Author Promoting Book Gives It Her All,” which made me laugh and cry in turns. It may have been a piece of satirical writing, but it hit a little too close to home for many of us bums from the slums who call the trenches of literary warfare home. Or, for that matter, anyone who has given a speech or delivered a lecture to a public audience, only to find that if friends and family don’t qualify as “public” then you have exactly no guests at your event.

Ouch!

For me, I’ll never forget my first book signing in the spring of 2003, an event in which 20-25 of my closest friends and enemies showed up, some with blank cheques, others with dazzling stilettos – and not on their feet. At the end of the evening, a friend who’d been (wo)manning the book sale desk came up to me and said, rather sheepishly, “You sold seven copies of your book tonight. I’m really, really sorry.”

I was able to do the math quite quickly because I am a math rock/superstar (if 20 people were to buy one copy each, then I would have sold how many books?) and then came to the conclusion that my frienemies were inherently evil people.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just the nature of the beast. Maybe it’s okay when your worst book signing event is the one in which your closest friends attend. Perhaps it’s fine when nobody but former students show up to your public speaking engagement. And possibly – very possibly – the one in “one is enough” is sufficient when that person is you, you love what you do, and you’re not doing it for any other reason than the purpose at hand. Not for greed or revenge or fame or to score that wicked hot babe sitting in the front row and who is most certainly bedazzled with your good looks, panache and your excellent sense of style, as evidenced by the top-tier palazzo wide-leg rayon gaucho capri pants you’re wearing.

Nope.

You’re doing the event because you believe in yourself, and if those chairs remain empty, screw ’em all. You’re a mobile party of one, not five, and you don’t need no one to make you feel good ’bout what you’re doing. No way, Jose. You don’t even need  a hug to feel better.

‘Cause you got your mom for that when you return home to the basement apartment you rent out from her.

 

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