You can't see my face, but I'm totally freaking out right now. Not about having to be this week's guest blogger, an honor Powell's has generously bestowed on me — albeit after I sent numerous e-mails, signed the Zodiac Pantser, detailing how and when I would publicly yank down the trousers of each Burnside staff member if I wasn't given this spot. No, blogging here is an exciting opportunity for any writer, and one I'll greatly look forward to each morning this week. The reason I'm going cuckoo at the moment: Tonight is my first bookstore reading from Perfect From Now On, and it's just a mere eight hours away.
No one tells prospective writers that a major part of being a published author is getting up in front of a bunch of people he doesn't know and reading the words he wrote. Words he wrote, mind you, while he was gorging on Ho-Hos and wearing sweatpants. Well, maybe Frank McCourt was informed of that fact, or David Sedaris, or even that ham Bob Vila. But nobody told me nothing, and I bet I'm not alone. When I was teenager, being a writer surely meant a blissful life of shutting yourself in an apartment and peering out at the world only through words on the page of a book. It seemed like the perfect career for the egomaniacal, agoraphobic misanthrope I was back then. And still am.
But now they're telling me I have to read in public, and read often. What I ought to do is hire a proxy reader. You know, find some punk kid on the street, hand him a script and fifty dollars, and have him appear on my behalf. But it would have to be someone who doesn't talk "street." I have zero "cred," and that's obvious from looking at my author photo. Proof: There's grass in my author photo. If only I'd stood in front of a graffiti-tagged wall with a can of spray paint in my hand!
But okay, it's unbecoming to complain about the indignities of being a published author. After all, someone paid me cash to write 75,000 words about my biggest passion: indie-rock music, including my all-time favorite band, Guided By Voices, as well as Joy Division, the Smiths, Pavement, and My Bloody Valentine. I am extremely thankful that I was allowed to do that. So, regarding the reading, I should probably just shut it, suck it up, and bust a cap in my ass. Maybe I have a knack for this street stuff after all.
Over the rest of the week, I promise to reveal the answers to the following questions: How many beers will I drink after my first reading tonight, and how badly will I feel tomorrow on a scale from one to ten? Have I received any e-mails from indie-rock fans about my book? What do I think of current indie-rock bands like Arcade Fire, whose new album comes out tomorrow, the same day as Perfect From Now On? And what the hell is this Foxing the Witch book listed under my name when you search for John Sellers on Powell's? Stay tuned!
Books mentioned in this post
John Sellers is the author of Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life