I like being a back-up singer, a member of the choir, hidden in plain sight. I’m an alto, not a show-stealing soprano. My job is to harmonize, and I willingly surrender the spotlight to the soloist.
Except that I’m an author–the star, the one at center stage. This means I must step out and share. It’s not that my knees are knocking. It’s more like I look at my pedestrian life and wonder whether I have anything interesting to say!
Oh, there’s plenty to say in my classroom. After all, the door is closed, and it’s my kingdom. I can sling out witticisms and then adjust the tone by the responses of my students. It’s a give-and-take, and I “manage” my class conversations several responses ahead. My poor students never know quite what I’m going to say next. “Keep them guessing” is a nifty strategy when working with middle schoolers.
But interaction via social media? It’s a whole different game. I cannot fall back on my classroom snark skills. I’m hampered by not being able to gauge the audience, to see your smiles and hear your chuckles. So I’ve learned to just blurt out stuff, casting into the wide world my observations about life and work and writing.
This also means making shameless use of anything cute. I have no sweet toddlers underfoot, and since discovering that I am deathly allergic to bees and wasps, my once-lovely garden has languished. But I do have photos of “grandcats.”
And with a little photo magic, I can “coerce” them into promoting my books! This is Domino, the tuxedo cat. His interest in Mercy’s Embrace is sincere and profound, don’t you think?
Then again, maybe not. I’ve tried using students, and you can see how well that worked. These high schoolers are great guys, but the cat might have an edge. At least Domino isn’t holding the book upside down!