There is a Zen koan that goes like this: A master posed a problem to his students. If you put a goose egg into a narrow-mouthed jar, and the egg hatches, and the goose grows too big to take out of the jar through the opening, how do you remove the goose without destroying either the goose or the jar? All of his students began to ponder the problem. Except for one, the master’s star pupil, who leaped to his feet and began running around the room flapping his arms wildly and yelling, “The goose is out! The goose is out!”
That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Like I’m running around the room yelling, “The goose is out!” And lo and behold, I think people are beginning to buy it.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent a copy of my press kit to Kerry Lengle, a reporter for the Arizona Republic. I chose Kerry because I like his work about the Phoenix area literary scene. As it turns out, the Executive Editor of Poisoned Pen Press had already sent him an advanced reading copy of my book . I enclosed a note saying that I would follow up later, but before I had the opportunity, he contacted me and suggested we get together for an interview.
We met at a local cafe and spent a pleasant hour talking about what seemed like everything under the sun. Kerry put me very much at ease – a good quality for a reporter – and I did go on and on. After he left, I sat there for a while trying to remember if I’d said anything libelous or embarrassing, but then I figured that any publicity is good publicity for the book. I had no idea if he had anything he could use, or if anything would come of it, but I was extremely happy to have had the experience.
Then, on the morning of Aug. 18, I’m sitting at my kitchen table, all innocent and unknowing, and open the paper to a picture of my own smiling face on the front page of the “Living” section. The photo is gracing a spectacular feature article entitled “Writer Honors Pioneering Grit of Foremothers in ‘Buzzard’.” I nearly swallowed my teeth. Followed by a grateful tear or two and a couple of minutes of the Dance of Joy. It was nice to read what I said, since I didn’t quite remember. A friend of mine said, “it sounds just like you.” I don’t know if that was a compliment or not, but it attests to Kerry’s reporting skills. I fired off a thank you note to him immediately, but I’ll take the opportunity right now to say to him what my mother always said to us kids when one of us brought her a refreshing Coke in front of the TV after a long day:
“Thank you, darlin’. You’re a student and a scholar.”
If you want to read the article, Dear Reader, the web address is: www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/smartliving/articles/0818doniscasey0818.html#
I’ve been making appearances, now, as well, which I will write about at a later date. Suffice it to say that they’ve been going very well, better than the launch, for me at least, since I’m more prepared. As you can guess, the newspaper article has helped attendance immensely. I had a Barnes & Noble signing yesterday, and when I arrived there was a mob waiting for me. But more on that front later…