Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hornet's Nest Marketing and Plans Gone Awry

Mary Kay from the Edmonds Bookshop showed me this perfect wasp nest (on Dayton Street) when I bought a card with beautiful photo of hornets' nest.

"The nests are so amazing," Mary Kay said. "That picture [on the card] was taken by a seven-year old boy." She told me the boy's grandmother had a card making business and when she added the boy's photo to her card line, Mary Kay placed the young boy's card next to The Girl Who Kicked Over the Hornet's Nest. It was in the storefront window and when the boy saw the window display, he wanted his picture taken near his card and the book.

Maybe we'd all secretly love a little celebrity to rub off on us. Perhaps that's what I was thinking when I spotted my book next to Alice Water's book and snapped a photo. If an alien popped in what would he make about our fascination with celebrity? It dawned on me that I'm just a little too impressed by celebrity, too. Who me? Hop on the celebrity bandwagon? Okay, maybe if the celebrity is Alice Waters.

Expectations versus reality:
What happens when events go awry? Recently, I signed up to sell books with Whidbey Island Writes' Association (WIWA). I'd imagined myself mingling with other authors, strolling the market and meeting farmers. I cheerfully packed my chair, sign and books and took the ferry to Whidbey Island.

I pulled into the Coupeville farmers' market long before it opened and looked for the WIWA table. I found a table that said Whidbey Island Writers' but they told me they were the Whidbey Island Writers' Group and I wasn't part of the group. Finally the kind market manager pointed out a space between a blue and a white tent.

I walked to the space and stood there for a moment, hoping someone would show up. One of the vendors next to me said, "It looks like you've lost something." I told him my group hadn't shown up and I had a chair but no table. "Take this one," my neighbor said, handing me a small folding table. I set up the table, then got the sheet I use for my kitchen assistant.

This is the bare bones table I set up. I met plenty of fun market shoppers and talked to a number of great farmers. I learned about Rockwell beans (reportedly a native Whidbey Island bean) and growing quinoa. I discovered a 112 year-old farm and learned that Whidbey Islanders didn't even get ripe tomatoes this summer.

What I'm saying is events may not always be up to expectations and there may be a number of explanations. Chill out, enjoy the sunny day, strolling the market and meeting other authors. That part of of my visualization was true.

Someday I hope to climb off the "D" list, but for now, I'll settle for a few laughs after-the-fact with things like this tossed-together table at the market. It's one step above a lemonade stand. My expectations weren't even on the same ladder as reality that day. Three cheers for a sunny dayand some really good fresh green beans.

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