Adventures in Marketing — Week 317

Sold a “Lollipop” to a legal aid lawyer with whom I’d worked in Chicago. (He’d come to Berkeley a few months after I did and, sticking to his roots more avidly, devoted his career to tenants’ rights.) I’d intended the book as a gift, but he’d sent a check with a note saying he’d like to discuss our different post-Chicago experiences (and have me identify who was who). I offered lunch or coffee, my treat, since, of the five former colleagues I’d sent a book, he’d been the only one to respond, and I’d wondered how they’d react to my unflattering account.

Then I sold a “Fully Armed,” “Most Outrageous,” “Schiz,” and “Goshkin,” in what had to have been the most idiosyncratic selection of my work to date, as well as the largest cash purchase since the woman in the grip of a manic episode walked into the café.
The sale began with an e-mail from a man who said he’d bought a “Cheesesteak” from me a few years ago. It was all that he could afford then, but now he was set for more. He wanted “funny.” He wanted “recent.” As further clues to his tastes, he had liked “the jewish (sic) stuff” and could “talk LA boxing, 1949-1950.” (Had I heard of Keeny Teran, a flyweight, whose career had been derailed by heroin?)
I was intrigued even before his order arrived accompanied by a check written on the account of a woman whose identity was undisclosed. Can you tell me something about yourself? I asked. “Google me and find out a lot,” he said.

The first hit on his name brought a six “WOW111″ article in a Santa Cruz newspaper – and then I had to read it Adele. My customer had passed though San Francisco’s beat and hippie eras. He had played drums behind big name musicians, rock and jazz. He had 65-years of gallery-worthy paintings sitting in a Marin County warehouse he refused to publicly show. He had walked away from a critically acclaimed exhibit of his photographs at SF MOMA to find a guru in India. For a life of “artistic freedom,” he had chosen “purity and obscurity (over)… business and critics and fame.”
To have him connect with my writing was cool.

In other news…
1.) My favorite non-remunerative conversation was with two grandmothers, one Anglo, one Hispanic, one writing a book about humming birds, one teaching elementary school, who’d sat down at the next table and noticed my display. We talked writing and the cost of housing. They complimented my bracelets and boots – a good way to incline me favorably – and asked if my tri-partite wedding ring meant I had been married three times. (No, I did not feel hit-upon.)
2.) My philosopher-neighbor (See: “Adventure 317″ referred a colleague-of-sorts to me. He is writing about the significance of reprint comics, and while I was honored to be considered an authority on the subject – as I would on any subject, come to think of it – unfortunately, in my days of comic-immersion, reprints weren’t even a glimmer in Stan Lee’s eye.
3.) My “In Box” also brought me H. Harris Healy, iII (sic), who asked (a) how I was; (b) if I’d been “fully jabbed”; and © if there was a grocery store nearby. I replied (d) who are you; (e) who do you think you are taking to; and (f) there was a supermarket next door to the café. He said (g) he was the one who had agreed to handle my books on consignment (of whom I had no recollection); (h) he had a niece with liver cancer; and (i) if I’d send her a gift card, he’d reimburse me. I said (j) how about he paid postage and 1/3rd of the cover price upfront and kept all proceeds; (k) too bad about your niece; and (l) I had a blank Holocause Museum Memorial card lying around on which I could inscribe a message of his choice if he’d provide her name and address.
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