Only fleetingly ever entertaining the idea to author the “great American novel”, which ranked up there with achieving fame as a prima ballerina or opening an exotic animal sanctuary or climbing Mt. Everest, I now find that I pathetically look forward to unremarkable royalty stipends quarterly. No one is more surprised than I. Let’s remember, though, that pop-artist-sociopath Andy Warhol promised that all schmucks everywhere would achieve 15 minutes of fame, sooner rather than later. Thus, I sadly consider that my achievement’s already considerably watered down within Andy’s once prescient context. Demeaned again…
Singers, revolutionaries, reality show show-offs, bloggers, critics, yellow journalists, prayer warriors, various activists, family focus folks, protesters, tweeters, armchair psychoanalysts, opportunistic politicians, and athletes (from peewee league to professional) over-populate the earth and crave recognition with accompanying cash results. “Show me the money!” And, thanks to Facebook postings and Letters to Editors, casual conversation — one on one and face to face — is on the wane while grand-standing proliferates. Look at us all! So much to say…and so little time. And even less quality information.
Earnestly promoting Hillary Clinton in 2008 (Please, tell me that she did NOT amass wealth while trading in “beef” commodities? Is that just Republican propaganda?), I submitted truly “progressive-thinking” logic to a multitude of newspaper editors and would have relished morphing into a political PUNdit, just a shade more solemn than Stephen Colbert. Instead, I delved into “nostalgic” trips to a not so long ago past, the glorious 50s and 60s, sans an abundance of candidness, sexual “allusions of grandeur” or naming of names unless in an adulatory mode. Super-heroes, wizards, paranormal situations, mythological concepts or a heavy reliance upon quoting scripture, or the capitalization of pronouns such as “He”, “His, or “Him” also got ruled out as other millions of writers perfunctorily handle those topics. I decided to return to the yesteryear of hippies, lipstick, flower power, Disney, Howdy Doody, Ike, JFK, birth control pills, the Golden Age of Television, space exploration, and “Hi Ho, Steverino/Madison Avenue”.
Similarly to scantily-clad Lana Turner perching upon a drugstore stool and finding her platinum-blonde-headed kittenish self “surprisingly” discovered in a surreal land of orange sunrises/sunsets and certifiable nuts, somebody incredibly “Greek to me” virtually grasped the high neck of my flannel nightgown as I inventively devised one status following another on the “social network” late into each night and into the early morning light. This Facebook ghost bearing gifts made me an offer I could not refuse. “Write more stuff, and I’ll be your editor!” At first, I envisioned a Trojan Horse gliding across my screen — then I succumbed breathlessly, yet confidently, to flattery.
An anthology of reflections from a past era got born, entitled “SECRETS OF AN OLD TYPEWRITER: Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small-town Girl”. (My original title — “Misjudged Gargoyles & Overrated Angels” — seemed pointedly, appropriately provocative for our Harry Potter-cavorting-with-vampires saturated intellectual and cultural climate…but what do I know?)
Ironically, a former cab-driver/cop, now a famous writer across the pond, recently shared with me several of his publication-horror-stories involving an unusual “apostrophe controversy”, yet his popular book, a murder mystery, is soon to be adapted into a movie. I matched him with an inventory of my own author-afflictions which plague what otherwise might have qualified as one fun “Walter Mitty”-ish ride spent signing actual physical books at retail outlets across the nation, appearing on the Letterman show, replying to Charlie Rose’s probing questioning, and bantering with Jon Stewart. As far as I am aware, no attempts — by Tarantino, Spielberg, nor Scorsese — to access my “contact info” have occurred. Perhaps notifications from film directors fall into that category of “the check’s in the mail”!
Although occasionally a handful of folks insist that I should “keep ’em coming” referring to columns I offer monthly, mostly I try to read “something” positive into blank stares I encounter while out and about mixing it up with the public. One astute reviewer DID compare me to fellow Hoosier Kurt VonneGUT — I DO have guts! Another reader likened my style to that of a science fiction novelist, the late “Ray Brad Berry” (Translation? Ray Bradbury!) who wrote “Fried Green — Dandelions”? (A little confusion between “Tomatoes” and “Wine”! ) Amateur critics run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. I compensate through development of thick skin to coordinate with my thick waist.
Should you, or any of your connections, wish to read me, check out www.susieduncansexton.com where my personalized history of the world, part I, can be downloaded onto your kindle, your computer, your iPad, your whatever. IF I sell enough eBooks, I’ll rush out to become more worldly, tantalizing, mysterious, scandalous and possibly finance an exotic animal sanctuary at last. Perhaps, I’ll offer another Tall Tale-Tail-Tell-All…with a spine, a slick cover, and numbered paper pages. I’ll locate a vanity press which will provide precious illustrations of pudgy baby giraffes, gorillas, alligators, wallabies, elephants, gazelles, monkeys, lemurs, zebras, and ocelots. PLEASE buy “My Coloring Book” immediately upon its release to Wal-Marts, Targets, Meijers and… ALL of the drugstores in America! I surmised that one day I’d land exactly where starlet Lana Turner once held court (legendary Schwab’s OR The Top Hat Café?)…comfortably situated upon my very own padded — (bar)stool! More likely, seek me out at a card table NEAR YOU where I’ll happily supply my autograph via the flourishing stroke of a big fat waxy crayon!
“Susie Duncan Sexton colors in the chiaroscuro of the American experience.” ~ David Ross, my handsome editor who inhabits the island of Corfu and knows plenty of huge, fancy, lovely words!