We all like to be able to point at something we’ve done and say, “That’s mine.” As a writer, the satisfaction comes when you see your name and work in print—or, increasingly, online. For me it happened the other day when I received an alert from a well-known search engine—let's call it “Google”—that my name had appeared somewhere on the vast apparatus that is the Internet.
Sometimes these “Google” alerts are false alarms. This is because there are other Sam Barrys in the world. There was the legendary basketball coach Sam Barry, inventor of the triangle offense; the up-and-coming Irish tennis star Sam Barry; the singer-songwriter Sam Barry; and there is one particular young woman named Sam Barry who I think is a teenager, and who keeps popping up on one of the social networking sites, which we will call “BookFace” to protect everyone’s anonymity. Over time I have grown fond of these other Sam Barrys: I know that they will do well in life because they have a good name. (Except for the basketball coach—he already did great.)
My own moment of glory came the other day when a “Google” alert came up for my new book, Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now, which I co-authored with my beautiful and talented wife, Kathi Kamen Goldmark. We’d been listed in Outdoors Unlimited! I know what you’re going to say: Write That Book Already!, which is a book about writing and getting published, doesn’t have anything to do with outdoor living. And those of you who know Kathi will point out that she hasn’t gone camping in, basically, her entire adult life. The last time I went camping was with my ten-year-old daughter Laura, and we wound up huddled in our sleeping bags in a poorly constructed tent on a wind-swept hill in Marin. I believe Laura has blocked this particular traumatic experience out of her memory.
So it did seem a little odd to see our book listed in Outdoors Unlimited, right under a DVD called Women’s Guide to Shotgunning, by Shari LeGate. But to get hung up on our lack of outdoor experience and the disconnect between shotgunning and writing is to miss the whole literary point: it’s a metaphor.
Take the description of Women’s Guide to Shotgunning: “Champion shotgunner LeGate helps women of all ages learn and enjoy shotgunning sports by helping choose the right gear and gain knowledge and confidence before stepping out onto the range.”
The term “shotgunning sports” obviously refers to sex, and I think you all know the phrase “stepping out on the range,” as in “That was the night Kathi and I first stepped out on the range.” As for the “right gear”—well, duh.
The Women’s Guide to Shotgunning description goes on to say, “The DVD begins with the basics, the parts of a gun, eye dominance and gun fit, and discusses equipment, stance and how to move to the target.” Yikes! Is it getting warm in here, or is it me? “’Getting involved in the shooting sports can be really scary for a woman,’ LeGate said. ‘They don’t know where to go, what to do, who to ask, what kind of guns to buy, what kind of games to play, what ammunition to get. This video will help them get started.’”
I’m going to order a copy of Women’s Guide to Shotgunning so that Kathi and I can study it “in depth.” I know what you’re thinking—“Why don’t they just get a tent?” Maybe we just will. Meanwhile, we’d like to suggest you order copies of our book Write That Book Already!, which was just released into the wild and is filled with sexy literary metaphors, like how to “find an agent,” the pros and cons of “self publishing,” and what goes on “behind closed doors at a publishing house.”
I have to admit—shotgunning makes for better metaphors.