One of the bits of Celtic tradition that I struggle with is the boasting culture. It’s not the done thing these days to leap on a table and proclaim just how bloody awesome you were recently. We may, on the whole, be a lot the poorer for this. Bragging and talking up our achievements is a joyful sort of thing to be doing if the people around you get stuck in, either cheering or offering their own counter-brags.
But then, our Celtic ancestors, by the looks of it, were not afraid to be theatrical, or full of themselves. How many of us grew up being told that modesty is a virtue, and not to be too big for your boots, and that showing off is a shameful thing and that it isn’t nice to draw attention to your own brilliance?
As an author, this is a doubly complex dance. Like every other author out there right now, I have to work to sell books. It doesn’t matter how big a name you are, how famous or how good, your publisher will expect you to get out there and sell your work, and your sales figures will drop if you don’t. People are attracted to success, will pick up books that are popular and authors who have a readership. It’s the buzz, the sense that if a lot of people think someone is good, maybe it’s worth checking them out. And so authors, and other creative folk have to go up against a culture that often says ‘be modest and self effacing’ and wave their credentials, achievements and wins about like bait in the hopes of being able to earn enough to live on.
So on one side, I’m by nature a touch shy and retiring and I find it hard to announce that I’ve done a thing, much less ask people to buy it. That habit of playing down success is hard to break, but it affects my own relationship with my achievements, and I’m interested in changing that.
So, here is a thing I did (it’s free, you can just listen online) http://nerdbong.com/nerdbongs-splendiferous-stories-slumber-s01e03-skin/
And here is Philip Carr-Gomm saying things about me that caused me to make happy squealy noises.