Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is Publishing World Scarier Than Halloween?

Halloween is one of those days where we can step away from who we are—or at least the public persona of who we’ve been—and become who we’d like to be, or perhaps really are.

You don’t have to worry about what people will think of you on this universal dress-up day.  You want to dress like a slut, pimp, or crazed killer?  Be my guest.  Any secret fetish can play itself out.  Boys, strap on your dresses, and girls, put on the football pads.  Unleash your opposite lifestyle.  This is your moment to be whomever you want to be—and not take any responsibility for your actions.

So what would the struggling writer go as, or the overworked publishing editor, or the under-resourced publishing publicist, or the time-challenged literary agent?  No one is wearing costumes to depict the writer, the publishing executive, or the agent.  How come?

And those who wear those costumes on a daily basis want to be someone else, but who or what shall they be?

I guess if you work in an industry of words or ideas the opposite of that is to embrace the physical and brutish side of yourself.  We may feel like the superhero for 364 days of the year.  Time to play the villain and walk on the dark side.

Writers become someone else whenever they write a book.  If they pen fiction, they become their characters and escape to a world of fantasy.  If they bang out non-fiction they take over the persona of being an expert at something. They use their imagination to create something that is not there, spending as much time to see possibilities than they do in living in reality.  For writers, Halloween is just another day to be someone they’re not, only this time they get to manifest their identity into a physical form.

Perhaps this year people should dress up as a thing, rather than a person, for we are fast becoming our things, especially our technology devices.  You might as well go as an ipad, a smartphone, or a DVR, because we spend more time with these things than we do with other people.  Maybe we should attach a screen to our chest and let it play our blog, video, book cover or whatever it is that we spend hours on.  We’ve become a hybrid of human and machine.  We are not vampires and witches or whores and ax murderers—we are streaming bits of data that get pushed from one screen to another.

Maybe our day-to-day costumes are getting harder and harder to separate from our bodies and our souls.  We already don’t know the boundary between work and home or digital and physical.  One day, Halloween will arrive, and we won’t be able to put on another costume because the one we wear all day and night is getting harder to take off.

Authors have great visions and fantasies but only express half of them in their books.  Even those who write of crazy, exciting things only reveal part of who they really are.  We all wear masks and Halloween is no different, except maybe we are truer on October 31 about our base desires than we are on any other day.

I think there should be a day without masks, machines, or clothes.  We should all walk around naked for 24 hours.  Let it all hang out and have nature take its course.  We are animals deep down inside and we can’t dress up who we really are.  Writers try to tear down walls and expose truths, and many succeed in doing so, but we’re still far off from each of us living life the way we really want to.

On this Halloween, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.  Become who you really are.   That might just be the scariest thought of all.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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