NICK’S BOOK PROMOTION DATES:
JULY 25TH, 7P, BOSWELL BOOK COMPANY, 2559 N. DOWNER AVE. MILWAUKEE, WI
SEPTEMBER 19TH, 7P, ST. IGNATIUS PARISH, 3235 ARDEN WAY, SACRAMENTO, CA
The Funny Side of Brain Power
One of the best shows in town, with bargain prices, long running and in a theater very nearby, is the spectacle of my own brain at work—and shirking from work.
Last evening, I pulled out a toolbox and readied a trusty screwdriver, stapler, hammer, shears and a carpenter’s marker. An older dark red dress shirt was about to enter its second life as upholstery for the seat of a long-cherished chair. The wood framing of the chair is scarred with time and miles on the road since the early 80’s when it hit the road with the Royal Lichtenstein Circus’s travelling office. I cherish those scars. New paint or varnish are out of the question. But the vinyl on the seat pad had cracked and was just too unsightly. It demeaned a revered relic. Hence all the prep and energy for some crafty renewal.
What didn’t come out of that toolbox was my confidence: I not only wanted to do this; I knew I could do it. I had never upholstered or re-upholstered in my life. But I had rehearsed the parts of the process I imagined. I held memories of parts of the procedure from years of building scenery and stage props. Within forty-five minutes I was back in love with all of my chair.
But that was only the denouement of the evening’s show. The elements of character and conflict in the plot had taken place earlier in the less cluttered environs of a computer screen. I had determined once and for all to solve the problem of managing my book’s website with my publisher’s proposed “phjabbers” software. (At www.weberwords.com I need to create a new page for the site on which a visitor might find coming stops in my reading/signing tour.)
In place of the hammer, stapler and other tools of my later task, I had just a printout of the publisher’s instructions. I had used those same instructions a few weeks ago to no avail. So I began this new attempt without confidence. In this adventure, I didn’t know I could succeed. I got as far as composing a page heading and saving it and then, once more came face to face with a very foggy sheer cliff. Instructions on the website at this critical juncture actually read “access your webpage with some software program.” Some? Did it actually say that? It did. Just as it had weeks ago. So I failed. Logged out and accepted my defeat—until Tuesday when our computer guide will be here with possible clarity.
Later, with that refurbished chair in place my adventures found a relationship: same protagonist had failed then succeeded. I wondered if the chair project owed its success to the failure of my struggle with the website. Did I need to succeed at something before day’s end? Was that part of the confidence muster? After all, manual skills didn’t constitute a significant differential. I can read, my keyboarding is above average and I can manage elemental tools and construction. What was going on in and around my brain was the difference: memory, focus, logic—and whatever fires off endorphin-like stimulants for determination and will power. I was honestly amused by this two-act playlet my head had just produced.
Too bad my diet no longer includes popcorn.