On the Road (with apologies to Mr. Kerouac)
At the Hyatt at the Orlando airport. It’s as remembered—convenient and comfortable. Relatively easy drive from Gainesville and an excellent dinner with a view of the airport at sunset. Had a plate of mozzarella served with pickled mustard seeds and a salad of roasted beets with goat cheese and pistachios garnished with fennel and oranges—great combination! Ready to head to the gate and then off to New York and the Writer’s Digest Conference.
30,000 feet up and cruising toward NYC. What am I doing? I don’t have a clue. I’m thinking that I want my life back—writing, admiring the clouds. I’m beginning to think that this marketing stuff is detrimental to my psychic health. It’s crass and brutal and conniving and wasteful. If I had the $$ I’d hire a publicist and an impersonator–like Andy Warhol did—and burrow back into delicious anonymity. Always said I’d rather be rich than famous. But being neither is a little hard to deal with.
So—what to do? I deal with that in AR. Especially Stefan—his feelings of suffocation, of being chained to his celebrity. “I don’t have a life, I have an itinerary!” he cries.
New York City
Lovely sunset viewed from my 11th-floor window. Rain today and humid. Felt like Florida!
The conference was busy, maybe useful. I went mostly to PR sessions—that’s where I need help. Chatted with lots of nice folks who are in the same place as me—earnest, slightly published, wishing for more.
Hoped to get to MOMA for lunch, but it was raining and I got invited to lunch with some authors from the Historical Novel Society, so I did that instead.
Had a nice solo dinner at a little Italian place next door to the hotel—carpaccio and a plate of fresh asparagus, some bread and a glass of merlot. Cappuccino and a berry tart for dessert. Yummy.
There was a couple sitting at the next table—a gay guy and his woman friend—that carried on a riff of light gossip—stories of friend’s weddings, kids, affairs, divorces. A herd of people streamed by endlessly outside the window. I had to wonder if people don’t get so involved with other people’s lives because they are the only organic life-forms in an inorganic city—the only things they can relate to.
New York City
Lots of good conference session, but the “business model” is so rampant that it devours everything else. It’s all about the bottom line. The way to advertise, to build your brand, to attract customers. This is worse than the art market!
I always admired those Chinese scholar-artists who kept their scrolls hidden away in lacquered boxes until they encountered some sympatico soul who could appreciate fine work, and then they’d share. Elitist? You bet!
But I HAVE enjoyed the one-on-one book talks and interacting with my audience—just like I did when I was teaching art history. I don’t think that talks at bookshops and retirement homes invite trolls and vampires. So that seems pretty benign. Also, working with book clubs is fun.
And finally DID get to MOMA today for a nice lunch and a look at a wonderful Rauschenberg exhibit. All the best stuff was there—“Monogram,” (the goat in the tire), the Bed, “Canyon,” (with the stuffed eagle). Enjoyed the show and the food!