T is for Trumpet



Number 20 in The A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction, part of the A to Z blogging challenge.

I must have been all of six when my parents took me to see my first concert. Not Eddie Cochran, I’m afraid, who wasn’t on their radar, but Eddie Calvert, otherwise known as the Man with the Golden Trumpet. Not quite as rebellious, but still, I was mesmerised, so quite naturally, for my next birthday, I asked for a golden trumpet. For some reason, my parents resisted the temptation to melt down the stash of gold bars in the airing cupboard and bought me a cross between a bugle and a cornet, made out of tin. The only tune I learnt to play was Abide With Me, the most doleful dirge in The English Hymn Book, but also the first and easiest in the accompanying pamphlet.

Why do I tell you this? Because it’s another affliction. Here’s what Ros Barber has to say on that rather dull (except to writers) topic of trad pub and self-pub: For those who prefer orchestrated backing to blowing their own trumpet, who’d privilege running a narrative scenario over running a small business, who’d rather write adventures than adverts, self-publishing is not the answer. Now, the problem is that despite whatever orchestra your publisher can provide, you’re still centre-stage with the trumpet, and although you may have rehearsed for hours, you don’t feel comfortable blowing it in front of an audience.

Yet that’s what you should be doing. The ancient virtue of humility is obsolete today. A recent study has shown that humblebragging doesn’t work and it’s better simply to go for all out boasting. As Oliver Burkeman puts it: A network such as Twitter is designed precisely to connect you with exactly the kinds of people who don’t mind your boasts, while those who might keep you in check won’t follow you in the first place: your audience thus serves as an army of enablers, applauding your self-applause.

For the shy, introverted writer toiling unnoticed in some unlit corner of the social media cavern, it’s time to get out that trumpet, preferably golden. Haven’t got one? OK, the cornet. Ah, it’s broken… All right. Um… A plastic kazoo?


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  1. How about a comb with a piece of paper held over it. That’s what we used to use as a kazoo when we were kids. LOL
    You make a good point!

  2. This is why I don’t tweet. But I saw your book trailer for One Green Bottle on somebody else’s blog, and I think it’s the best one I’ve seen. Your book trailer, not somebody else’s blog.

  3. I’d say, “Blow the work’s trumpet instead of your own,” but when I try to figure out how an author might do that, it only clarifies how intimately we are entwined within the work, doesn’t it?

    • Yes, I guess it all depends which of our skills we’d like people to focus on. I could say I’m good at holding my breath under water, but would it increase sales? Hmm, come to think of it… maybe I’ll set the next one in Atlantis.

  4. Oh my!!!!! I wrote a coment this morning and…. I forgot to click “Post coment” Well… anyway my “case” was’t very important… your story ….hahaha is good!

  5. The amount of blogs I comment on this month is playing tricks on my memory, but now I remember having seen your video on Romero Russo’s blog, and it all comes together nicely. Great video.
    We are the best ambassadors for our books — best trumpet players, if you will. I’m okay with being out there, discussing my book. I’m not okay, much, with the amount of time it takes away from writing, but what’s a writer to do.
    Lovely post, and story. Glad to have found your blog.

    • Many thanks for the comment – quite true! And perhaps the only way to manage it is to make it in some way enjoyable by channelling creativity into it.

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