In a world frequented by writers and other creative sufferers, psychotherapy recognizes an unsolvable human affliction: cognitive dissonance. It’s the ability to simultaneously engage conflicting viewpoints. Writers want to have their work speak for themselves, and yet…there is always a stage that must be occupied by a public performance, as JD Salinger’s exception proves the rule. When the writing becomes the written, the looming challenge is getting people to read it. And that means walking down the corridor to the marketing department. In this case, it meant a road trip to the Iowa City Book Festival. My publisher had arranged for me to give a reading. So I did. Sometimes these events are described as shameless self-promotion. Which brings me back to psychotherapy. A certain degree of shamelessness is healthy. A public reading of one’s work is neither shameless nor worthy of shame. It’s just marketing. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Here’s how I did: