I read my old diary from July 2001 this morning. It had a working title for the novel I hoped to write one day. (Hey I did it! Please download India’s Summer right now. Just press that little Amazon BUY button, you won’t regret it and even if you do it’s only the price of a Starbucks’ coffee.) Anyway, back to the diary-
Diary of A Madwoman – How one Crazed Mother Moved her Husband and Two Teenagers From A Sleepy English Village to Gilt- edged Beverly Hills – an alcohol-fueled account of one woman’s attempt to reinvent herself.
I wrote long hand in those pre- laptop, pre-iPhone, pre-Mac days. How much has changed since we arrived eleven years ago this week.
My book India’s Summer, (endorsed by Hollywood celebrities and a rattling good read) has been published at a time when social networking has taken over the planet. Amazon rules book sales and everyone has become stars in their own reality show. To make yourself heard over the fray, you need to shout loudly; become a brand, launch your website, Facebook, Tweet, Blog and tell the world how unique, witty, intelligent, kind, generous and spiritual you are. You have to create a platform for yourself.
I am not known for my shy/retiring persona. (Gross under-statement see previous posts.) Even so, I balk at blatant self–promotion. This is not serving me well. Culturally I’ve been trained from an early age to deflect compliments, apologize,make light of my accomplishments.
“Yes.” I will say. “I DO have a title but I’m not a real Lady.” (Why do I say this when I got the title from the Queen?”)
“Yes. I’ve written a book. It’s not really literature, it’s a good beach read though…” (Why do I say this when it took me a lifetime to write it and I know it’s better than that? (It’s a great couch read too and perfect for a long haul flight. Go on. Go wild. Press that Amazon BUY button.)
Americans learn to rattle off their resumes in any situation. I struggle with that. I don’t want to turn into the person who uses every social occasion to promote my on –line profile. I don’t want to alter my relationship with my friends by asking for contacts. It makes me uncomfortable. I hint. That’s what I do. I hint. (Go on. You know you’ll feel better if you press that Amazon BUY button.)
My promotional book tour continues. Technically I’m not certain that randomly giving out copies of India’s Summer on the beach while on vacation constitutes a book tour. My publicist is encouraging me to blog and tweet; but in a summer where you’re competing with Fifty Shades of Grey I think my approach is probably as effective.
On the flight to Cancun Mexico, Fergie, minus her Black-eyed Peas, was seated behind us. She tweeted a picture of herself on the beach next day. Here is the picture and next to it, a picture of the Korean couple we got to know a week later in Florida. If these people were ever to meet it would give whole new meaning to the words ‘culture shock.’
Our ‘All Inclusive’ hotel in Mexico was one giant adult playground. I’ve never seen so many people in fluorescent swimsuits drinking so many fluorescent cocktails in my life. To get to the bar, you simply waded across one of the many fluorescent pools. I immediately got into the swing of things; one-handed water salsa dancing, one-handed extreme Bingo, one-handed Ping Pong, other hand clamped to a plastic glass of Sancerre.
And then there were the water sports. My husband said it wasn’t a highlight of his vacation seeing me revving into the ocean minus a life jacket with a young Mexican man, hanging onto my waist. It turned out Miguel was a little unhinged too, a fact I discovered when we were a few miles out and he tied up the jet-ski and invited me to climb into the water and do the Rumba with him. I did; it was a lot of fun. I would share the photo Miguel and me safely back on shore, but I fear Fergie’s photo would upstage me, so you’ll have to imagine that one.
Talking of culture shock, after five days (and nights) of this Paradise, we had to tear ourselves away to The Four Seasons in Palm Beach where we had to make our own entertainment. I assure you we did… But I’m going to tell you about that some other time.