Monday, March 8, 2010

"Earl Fantasy Number Two"

I have in my head somewhere a handful of fantasies of things, which, due to age and a congenital lack of courage, I will never get to do. I mentioned one on my birthday: Sing a medley of western theme songs at the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

That might have been fun. Strapping on that six-gun my friend Dennis brought me from Tucson, and almost got arrested carrying it onto the plane. I’d have come out, wearing my authentic blue-and-white checkered shirt with pearl snaps instead of buttons, my beautiful cowboy boots that only hurt when I wear them, and a truly knockout cowboy hat. I mean, that hat could walk onstage and inspire a standing ovation all by itself.

“Up on your feet, Boys. We’re in the presence of a classic cowboy hat.”

Yeah… (SIGH)… that would have been something.

I announced that the next fantasy I’d tell you about would be “Earl Pomerantz Entertains At The White House”, but I’m not ready for that yet. I’m still fiddling with my “play list.” I hate to disappoint the president. But he’s a pretty busy guy. He probably doesn’t even know I’ve rescheduled.

Earl, this isn’t real.

Back off, Italics Man. It’s a real fantasy.

Instead – and this is a departure for fantasies, though not my fantasies – I present a fantasy which, in some ways, I wish had happened, but having seen it played out in my head, I’m extremely glad it didn’t.

Earl Fantasy Number Two:

Earl Pomerantz Reads Excerpts From His Recently Published Book

I’ve written two books that weren’t published. One is my cowboy book, Saddle Up!, which I occasionally excerpt, for mostly my enjoyment, on this blog. Saddle Up! presents a series of “first person reminiscences” – I put that in quotes, ‘cause they’re not really first person reminiscences, I made them all up – by actors, including animals, who, for years, played the same roles in western movies and TV shows – “The Sidekick”, “The Bad Guy”, “The Good Guy’s Hotheaded Brother”, the “Stampeding Buffalo”, who, along with eleven others, were required to simulate an great herd, by continually running past the camera – each time pretending to be a different buffalo – as the director, through adept camera placement, tried to turn twelve buffalo into a multitude.

Publishers tell me nobody cares about westerns, so that one’s in a box under my desk.

The other book I wrote is a political commentary entitled Both Sides Make Me Angry. I thought I had some interesting things to say, but, apparently, that’s not enough. It turns out, for people to care about your opinions, you have to be a person with an acknowledged expertise. Or a Kardashian.

There is a third book – he went on, referencing books that are available nowhere – and that’s Story of a Writer, created specifically for this blog. A book agent encouraged me to allow her to show it around. I had no interest. Why? Well, for one thing, she suggested that I needed a catchier title. The agent’s suggestion – edging toward an instruction – provided a glimpse of what would be required. One whiff of “selling mode” and I was completely turned off.

I’d like to have a book published. However, my fantasy about it revealed that, reading excerpts, a traditional part of the book selling process…

Train wreck.

I’m a terrible reader. Part of it’s a vision issue. I don’t see well – far, close, or side to side. That third limitation is the crux of my reading difficulty. When normally sighted people read, their peripheral vision tips them off to upcoming words and phrases, allowing their reading to flow smoothly and naturally. For me, however, I’m reading away, and suddenly it’s like…”Whoa, where did that word come from?”

(I have a similar problem as a passenger in cars. I’ve been known to jump when a vehicle emerging from a cross street flashes into my line of sight, terrifying the driver, who believes we are about to crash. No crash. Blessed with regular peripheral vision, the driver has already considered the emerging vehicle. It is only my type of peripheral vision that makes the vehicle appear to have shown up out of nowhere.)

The other problem with a public reading is, you know, you write something, you re-write it, you re-write it again, you massage it, you tweak it, you polish it, and then, finally, you let it go. You feel like you’ve done your best. Still, inside, there’s this nagging suspicion that a “better” version may still be out there.

Assuming perfect vision, I would still have trouble, because, as I’m proceeding, the “better version” would suddenly pop into my head, and I’d be unable to ignore it, because it’s a better version. Inevitably, the words on the page and the improvement I just came up with would crash into each other coming out of my mouth.

You can imagine what that does to a reading.

Fantasies. Wish fulfillments, and wish fulfillment warnings.

Both are comforts in their own way.


Anonymous said...

Earl, Have you considered self-publishing your books through something like

growingupartists said...

As a learned man, I'd like to hear why both sides make you angry. And if both sides make you crazy, even better.