What struck me first is how much I really wish I had an excellent title like Tracey has. She sounds very impressive rattling off that post-script to her name.
I can say, "Hi. I'm Marty Kelley, the guy who writes stuff and paints pictures", but it seems kind of weak.
When Tracey introduces herself to people, I'll bet they give her some respect and attention. When I introduce myself to people, they give me their pity and, if I'm lucky, their spare pocket change.
I'm working on a new and impressive title for my position, but it's not easy. I need something that will fill people with awe and, possibly, fear. Marty Kelley, Creator of Alternate Realities for the Mind and the Eye would probably do the trick, but seems to be a bit too grandiose and possibly overstating the case a bit. I'll keep at it and let you know how it goes.
I need to have a good title because Tracey asked me to be on television and I want to be able to impress people. She asked me to be part of The New Hampshire Authors Series. The trouble, you see, is that everyone they have ever had on the show is an author. I need to stand out from the crowd and the only way I can see to do that is to have an awe-inspiring title. Or some amazing super power, but that isn't working out too well for me, either.
Tracey explained that the author originally scheduled to be on the show was my friend Mary Lyn Ray, but she was unfortunately unable to make it. I wondered if Mary Lyn knew something I didn't. Perhaps she, like me, had been on television before and suffered greatly at the punishing hands of the media gods.
My one previous attempt at television stardom came when I was asked to be on a local cable access children's show that featured me looking like a moron and, more often than not, looking into the wrong camera, as well.
I was supposed to go on the show with a handful of my books, read them, explain a bit about my work, be witty and photogenic, and not look like a total doofus. It was the last of these at which I failed most miserably. My jokes, which tend to work adequately enough when I actually have an audience, were shown to be somewhat lacking by the deadpan camera crew who stared blankly at me and talked to the control room on headphones. Since I couldn't hear the control room, I assumed the camera people were talking to me and at several points in the show, I appear to be talking aloud to the voices in my head.
Unstable lunatic is not the impression one most wants to give on a children's television show.
I was also not enough of a seasoned television professional to be completely unmoved when, in the middle of the taping, one of the camera operators suddenly staggered from the room and began vomiting. The director signaled for me to continue, but I'm fairly certain that the look of shocked horror on my face betrayed my lack of experience with such situations.
I'm only fairly certain because I haven't yet been able to get through more than the first thirty seconds of the DVD of the show. It starts off with me looking earnestly into the wrong camera and doesn't show any immediate signs of improving.
Tracey assured me that I will have fun on her show because it has a live audience (who, presumably, will not vomit en masse) and because I will be interviewed by Rebecca Rule, The Moose of Humor. Another person, I feel compelled to point out, who has a cooler title than I do. Becky's title is well deserved as she is a very funny lady (though suspiciously unmoose-like in appearance and demeanor) and she has the most wonderful New Hampshire accent you will ever hear. I could listen to her say "over there" all day long. I've seen her speak on several occasions and have always thoroughly enjoyed it, so having my own personal chat with her in front of a live audience ought to be a special thrill.
An email from Becky highlighted that fact that there will be free crackers and cheese served to the audience to keep them happy. I am not so scrupulous as to be above this sort of bribery, but I personally would opt for free wine or a keg or even personal Prozac packs so we can eclipse happiness and head directly to blissful euphoria. I'm sure the crackers and cheese will be a big help, though. Unless it makes the audience vomit like the camera guy.
The taping will be at 2:00 on September 27th (my wedding anniversary, if you care to know) at The Dimond Library at UNH in Durham.
Admission is free, as are the crackers and cheese. You need to register, though, so they will know how much cheese to have on hand, I suppose. You can register here.
Hope to see you ov-ah they-ah, as Becky would say.