By Paul Gaszak, English Faculty
For the holiday season, we at the Flaneur’s Turtle have increased our efforts to promote the site:
Michael Stelzer Jocks has infiltrated the Salvation Army. With each donation, he sings, “All I Want for Christmas is Youuuuuu….to ‘LIKE’ and ‘SHARE’ the Turtle.”
Dr. Peter Stern has been dressing like Baby New Year, wearing a sash with the Turtle’s web address.
Tricia Lunt is making the rounds at Chicago bars singing a sultry “Santa Baby” alternative: “Turtle baby, slip some insight under my tree….”
I am working as Santa at Macy’s and giving the children boxes full of Turtle posts.
…that are also wrapped in Turtle posts.
…with a card that says “Don’t be naughty – read the Turtle.”
…“PS: I was totally kissing your mommy underneath the mistletoe last night.”
We plug the Turtle via social media, in classrooms, and on the side of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower in Chicago, but it’s not done out of vanity. (Ok, it is for me. Like Lady Gaga, I live for the applause.) The Flaneur’s Turtle and all other print and digital publications must self-promote. A publication has no value if it has no audience.
It’s like that old saying: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to see it, it won’t get on Instagram.
On social media, where I shamelessly plug myself, I saw a quote from a 1992 Paris Review interview with poet Yehuda Amichai: “When you’re a poet you have to forget you’re a poet—a real poet doesn’t draw attention to the fact he’s a poet. The reason a poet is a poet is to write poems, not to advertise himself as a poet.”
One aspect of the quote is agreeable: all artists should create their art because they love to create it – not because they hope to label themselves as poets, musicians, painters, actors.
However, artists should not forget they are artists, and they damn sure need to advertise themselves.
We live in a world of endless distractions that….
Hold on. Blake Shelton is dressed like an elf on Kelly Clarkson’s NBC Christmas Special. Hilarious. And she’s such a cutie pie.
Ok. Like I was saying, we live in a world of distractions. We have to fight for people’s attention in the classroom, at the dinner table, on social media. It’s even more pressing for artists and little ole publications like the Flaneur’s Turtle, who need to figure out how to be ever-present and influential without being annoying and intrusive.
Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. Part of the appeal was my misconception that it was a perfect fit for a shy, antisocial kid like me. I could hide away and write in a log cabin in some anonymous woodland area, speaking only to myself and the forest creatures until I went insane like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
I eventually learned that art has a business side full of professional connections and branding and marketing. It is a separate art form unto itself, and it can be exhausting. But it’s all necessary.
So, thanks to everyone who reads the Turtle and joins us in conversing about our topics, both online and in person.
Now go give the gift of the Turtle to your loved ones this holiday season. I’m sure they’ll love it way more than jewelry or a new smartphone.