The Song: "This and That," Michael Penn. Words & music by Michael Penn. Track 3 of March, 1989.
When/how acquired: Purchased cassette, 1990.
Listen/watch here (it's a bad video transfer, and the sound has some weird interference but is otherwise clear).
I didn't bring any business cards with me to the Virginia Festival of the Book, which was a mistake. But I'm not actively looking for work, and the truth is that I've run out of business cards and am not sure what to do about reprinting them.
I had great "Answer Girl" business cards, designed by my cousin Sheila (who is auctioning off some of her gorgeous artwork for Japan disaster relief on her blog). The easy, logical thing to do would be to reprint those, and I'm not sure why I haven't. Maybe because the whole "Answer Girl" persona feels more and more like hubris; maybe because it still doesn't answer the question, "What it is that you do?"
The question is easy here at the Festival, because I am here as a reader but also as John Connolly's US publicist and all-purpose minion (minus the beatings that minions get in his book The Gates - we had to be clear on that before I took this gig). But this is only one of many things I do. In the past week, I've finished developmental and copy edits on two manuscripts, written and edited copy for two very different corporations, done publicity support work for another author, interviewed a principal for a ghostwriting project, and started some quick research for yet another author. I also finished reading a book that's a candidate for a literary prize I'm a judge for (and no, those books don't show up on the blog reading lists until well after the fact). This week was unusually productive; spring is here, and with it I feel recalled to life, like the crocuses that are finally up in central Maine.
So I tell people who ask that I provide "broad-spectrum author support," because rattling off the various projects gets confusing and tedious, even to me.
But I realized a couple of weeks ago, when I started fretting about this question of business cards, is that my work is not so far from my great-great-grandmother McLaughlin's - not the one on my mother's side, who was born in Ireland and whom I know nothing about, but the one on my father's side (yes, my gene pool is thick). She was the housekeeper at that young ladies' finishing school. I'm a 21st century servant, and I like that idea maybe more than I should. There's honor and grace in doing service well, and I'm far more comfortable downstairs than upstairs. I don't need to be a star, but am happy to shine up the people who do — provided, of course, that I decide they deserve it.
Putting "star polisher" on my business card would just confuse matters even more.