If I knew what I was doing, I’d do something else, and this time I’d do it differently.

Brother Dave Gardner
Brother Dave Gardner

I am not and have never been a child of technology.

When I was born, Edison was still testing the electric light. Even now, when I flip the light switch I exhaust all knowledge of electricity.

I turn the key in the ignition, and the car runs. That’s all I know. I understand that some of you don’t even turn the key anymore. You simply push a button, which is a brilliant innovation of twenty-first century technology that we first used back in the 1950s.

So why am I immersed in the technology of publishing?

It’s all about social media.

Build a brand, they say.

Build a platform, they say.

Build your name, they say.

But it’s all new and confusing to me.

I do it, but I have no idea what I’m doing.

I hope it works.

I have no idea if it’s working.

I sometimes feel as though we are all treading water until the breakthrough finally comes along and pulls us all to the next level where we can actually connect with book buyers and, God forbid, even sell a few books.

When I look at the changing trends in technology, I am reminded of the old story told years ago by the wonderful comedian, Brother Dave Gardner.

If you remember him, he was a treasure. If you don’t, his old albums have been converted to CDs, and you can still find them on Amazon. They’re worth whatever they cost.

Said Brother Dave: a little Southern town woke up one morning, and everyone walked out of their homes and saw a big billboard rising above the businesses. In big, bold letters, it said: IT’S A COMING.

What?

When?

Why?

No one knew.

A few days later, they saw a new billboard that proclaimed in big, bold letters: IT’S ON ITS WAY.

Remarkable.

No one could figure out what it was.

But they couldn’t wait to see it.

On Sunday, the billboard was screaming in big, bold letters: IT’S ALMOST HERE.

The town was in a frenzy.

People couldn’t sleep.

They didn’t want to miss it.

On Wednesday, the billboard said in big, bold letters: IT WILL BE HERE AT TWO O’CLOCK SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE DOWNTOWN MAJESTIC THEATER. TICKETS ON SALE AT THE DOOR.

Only three days to wait.

It wouldn’t be long now.

They gathered for Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting to thank the Good Lord because he had allowed them to live long enough see it.

Saturday morning, the town awoke early.

People came downtown while the sun was still struggling to climb above the tree tops. They lined up at the box office at the Majestic, bought their tickets, and jammed their way into the little theater.

It was dark.

But then, movie houses were always dark.

Anticipation gripped them like a fever.

The theater was packed.

On some rows, there were two sitting in the same seat.

No one cared.

It was coming.

It had arrived.

It was here.

And the curtain slowly rose and, in the middle of the stage, there stood a sign aglow in the light of a single bulb.

The letters were big.

They were bold.

The people strained to read it.

They stood to read it.

And what did they read?

The words on the sign left no doubt.

IT’S GONE, they said.

I sometimes feel that’s the world in which I live. By the time I figure out one strange new piece of technology that drives social media it’s gone, another has taken its place. and I’m back to square one.

I spend a lot of time in square one.

I’m not even sure if the square is square anymore.

You can read about all of Caleb Pirtle’s books and novels on his Amazon Page.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • We used to have all of Brother Dave’s albums back in the 60s. Some how they “got away.” This was from people borrowing them, I think. I remember one, “Brother, Heal Thyself.” I also remember one of his routines in which he talked of a “little bitty mole” on someone’s face, and he went on and on about it (was it A. Lincoln?). He was so hilarious. I feel your pain, Caleb. This is the third or fourth time I have have made some sort of stab at self-promotion, starting first in the early 1990s. Every time, some of the wind gets knocked out of your sails and you try to crawl back up again, but it is never with the same “vigor” (to quote JFK–Vaughn Meader’s was another popular album). There are of course some writers with tons of money and they were able to “make it” by taking out ads in things like the NY Times promoting their work. Early on, I DID spend more money–money I didn’t even have. I don’t do that any more and some of the newbies don’t understand why. Well if they do it long enough they will get why. And I am not going into debt “at my age” to do it. I am glad I discovered VG because it may be one of the best ways thus far. It is a sad day when one decides to make a book FREE, just to “sell” more copies, and it does–but it may be a book that you spent three years of your life on. There are times you say to yourself, “If I could really, really write, someone would have discovered my work by now. Guess I should just quit all of this silly business and move on.” But something inside us won’t let us quit, though we may go through some dry spells. The dry spells are spent conjuring up new things until we get the stamina to start putting them on paper again. I appreciate what you are doing (I am sure many others do also, more than you know) and you and Stephen and the rest of the crew are doing it in such an eye-pleasing and thought-provoking way. Just look at who all is following you on Twitter, and in other venues. It’s not over til the fat lady sings.

    • We never quit. And I have a gag in the fat lady’s mouth. But Brother Dave did have a lot of wisdom in his humor.

      • When I get through watching old Perry Masons, Sea Hunts, Nekkid Citys, Twilight Zones and Alfred Hitchcocks, I just may have to order me Brother Dave’s albums on CD. I just got Dave Brubeck’s Essential, and it is over the top–I highly recommend it for audiophiles…

        • When Dave Brubeck invented music, everybody else should have stayed at home and out of the sun. He ruled the night time jazz.

  • Hi Caleb and Sara. I’ve read some of your work, Caleb, and been very impressed. I even have some of your books on my kindle, but haven’t read them yet. So many books available now, many of them free.
    Discouraging.
    My work wouldn’t ever see the light of day so far were it not for free posts at wordpress. I guess that’s life.
    Publishing, books and even reading is going through great changes. Most young kids would rather play a game.
    We do what we have to do, and we do what makes us happy.

    • Louise, thank God there are people like you. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one wandering lost in the wilderness of stray words. I appreciate your interest. We used word salesmen have to stick together.

    • Hi, Louise. We must keep after it! ;- D

  • Why should you need to know what you’re doing? The U.S. Administration doesn’t have a clue about micro-managing an economy and that doesn’t stop them, does it?

    • Everything is a shot in the dark. Don’t know where I’m aiming, but I keep on shooting.

  • Brilliant! This is a hoot! Edgy, even. Good to see you spending a little time down here with the jugulars, Tex! You’re a born natural!

  • I’ll love Brother Dave forever: that’s a long time after the crossroad where I last saw him has faded from sight in my rear view mirror.

    • When you have time, I’ll tell you my personal Brother Dave Story. In fact, I may blog about it someday. He was a genius.

  • Some would say you are on the edge of enlightenment where all has been let go to empty the vessel so the universe can rush in. Others might say it’s just a bad case of too many blogs, too little time. Either way, it’s a bit of a bitch.

    • We’re all drowning in a sea of words and still can’t get themselves out fast enough. It is a bit of a bitch. But I’m swimming in new waters and like that since I don’t like to swim at all.

  • It’s here!!

  • Leslie Moon

    you hit a nerve Caleb. I think they are just doing not knowing why just rushing into line because there’s a line. I just want to be in the right line…
    🙂

    • We feel like we must keep running from one line to another, and there is no future in it. Yet no one has figured which line is the right one. But we’re all trying.

Related Posts