In the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian university professor, theorized that in the new television age, everyone would enjoy 15 minutes of fame. The artist Andy Warhol took up that theory. After all, TV was fast becoming a global phenomenon. I remember the coverage of the first manned lunar landing in July 1969 and Richard Nixon visiting China in 1972—a nation that seemed as remote as the moon.
In the digital age, everyone will have 15 seconds of fame what with websites, social networks, YouTube and—gasp—blogs. Not to mention Twitter. My 15 seconds involve my novel Slick! (What? You haven’t bought a copy yet? And read it? And encouraged family and friends?)
Truth be told, I had a previous 15 seconds—maybe even 60—in 1998. Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, brought out Solo Success: 100 Tips for Becoming a $100,000-a-Year Freelancer. KCBS NewsRadio interviewed me. I was quoted in a few magazines freelancers read—which spiked sales. And I spoke at a few marketing-group lunches. I wrote a column for a company’s web site. For which they paid me! Alas, that did not make me a national figure.
Now, Slick! has given me another small taste. Kirkus Reviews gave it a Star as a book of “remarkable merit.” They also ran a Q&A with me in the April 15 edition. But let’s put it all in perspective. No one is anyone unless they’ve been on TV. So I recorded a segment of “Mosaic” for CBS-5 San Francisco. Then again, it runs this Sunday, April 22, at 5 am. But people watch, they tell me. And you can record it. But don’t think I have a swelled head. A profile of me is scheduled to run in the May edition of the Richmond Review, a neighborhood monthly. It’s free. They toss it onto your doorstep.
Where will all this lead? Hopefully, to an agent or editor, who will inquire about what I’m writing next. Which happens to be a follow-up to Slick! titled San Café, set in Central America. Not to mention a new and very different novel, The Boy Walker. It’s about a father and adult son who are estranged but live in the same house right here in the Richmond District. Death and stand-up comedy play major roles—among other surprises.
Can I live without achieving a full 15 minutes of fame? Sure. The Kirkus review helped reinforced my belief that I write well. Just as important, my wife, Carolyn, and a lot of other people have been supportive. And bottom line, the approval and commendation that really count come from the people we love and work with and know through our various interests.
So here’s a thought. While you’re waiting to collect your 15 seconds—or another 15—give a little appreciation and encouragement to someone else. As a wise man told me years ago, “We all want a little applause.” It’s easy to put your hands together, and it doesn’t cost a dime. Yet it makes the world a better place.
I’ll be taking a break for the next four weeks and put up a new post on May 25. Feel free to browse through some old posts. Today’s is #80. And now for the usual (but important) post-post doggerel:
Responding is simple. Click on “comments” above then go to the bottom of the article.
Read the first 2-1/2 chapters of SLICK! at davidperlstein.com. Which, by the way, received a great review and coveted Star as “a book of remarkable merit” from Kirkus Reviews. To purchase a signed copy, email me at email@example.com. SLICK! also is now available at iUniverse.com, Amazon.com and bn.com.