My sister just sent me a diagnostic flowchart for achieving matrimony. It's her take-off on the education reform flowchart I gave her a copy of last week - we work fast in my family with whatever tools are at hand. I mention the tools because she didn't have a copy of Visio and did the marriage flowchart in some Adobe software, maybe InDesign, which really isn't designed for the job. Unlike my education reform flowchart, her matrimony graph (it's not exactly a flowchart) was prepared especially for me, so I can't guarantee it suitability for other users.
The point is, having carefully considered my options, I'm leaning towards running away. My lease here is up in a month and my house hunting efforts have taught me that there are a lot of really bad houses available, so I'm thinking it might be a good time to buy a tent and see the country. I tried seeing the country on a camping trip after graduate school fifteen years ago, but I mainly saw the highways as I drove as much as sixteen hours a day in a hurry to get nowhere in particular. Given the cost of gas and the fact that I'm older and slower, it might make sense to go with a hard limit of 200 miles a day, maximum, and actually stop and visit places.
Many authors go on extended tours of speaking engagements (did he say engagement:-) and book readings at least once in their lives. But has anybody ever gone on a cross-country publisher tour, visiting self publishers and writing about them online? I don't know that I'd be the right person to do it, but it sounds kind of interesting at first blush, and could give some structure and meaning to my midlife crisis. I have standing invites from a couple of self-publishers around the country to drop in and say "Hi" if I'm in the area, but I'd have to run the quantity up quite a bit if I was to have any chance at getting good at it, much less coming up with some useful prose. I suppose some new self publishers wouldn't mind getting their photo and titles listed on my website, but I may be too honest for some people's taste.
How would something like the Runaway Bridegroom Publisher Tour work? I'd have to line up some publishers interested in meeting me ahead of time, call them when I'm going to be in reasonable driving range for a day or two, and plan to meet somewhere for a coffee. I've corresponded with too many "interesting" authors to have any inclination to meet them in their homes, invariably located on isolated country roads, complete with a kid playing the Deliverance theme on a banjo. I'd also be inclined to setting a pretty short time limit for a meeting, like a half-hour, to make sure we talk about the publisher's titles and not sit around swapping publishing war stories.
My guess is that it would be a learning experience for me and a disappointment for any self publishers who expect enough publicity to have a noticeable impact on their sales. It would also force me into a cellphone and cellular Internet service, the latter which I'd love and the former which I've been avoiding like matrimony, dating, and most other things universally adjured as good. At least, I haven't come across a cellular Internet service that you can buy without a cellphone, but I have a month to look. I'm not exactly committed to the venture, if I came across a good house sitting or sublet gig in the next month, I'd probably take that instead and just keep going as is.
In the meantime, I'm reading a biography of Darwin in which he is quoted as having written (during his bachelor days) that a wife would make a better companion than a dog for old age. I have a hard time taking the words at face value as he was famously dependent on his eventual (religious) wife, who gave him ten children and did more for his gene pool than all the barnacles he dissected. Or is it considered "not cricket" to point that out?