My mama raised me up to know the value of modesty. Having that knowledge means that when I call attention to myself, I’m required to feel guilty. (Knowing the value of modesty and being modest are two entirely different things, it turns out.)
I’ve always admired folks who are naturally modest — or at least who seem to come by modesty naturally. Garrison Keillor, possibly the cleverest Minnesotan ever, seems to have that quality. And at the risk of sounding partisan, Colin Powell does too. They both seem like people who would make memorable and pleasant dinner companions. I doubt either of them spends time dropping names of celebrities or babbling excessively about their accomplishments.
But if you write a book and you want to find an audience, you can’t afford to be too modest. You have to call attention to yourself. You have to believe you have done something worth boasting about and then you start boasting, even if it goes against your sense of propriety. So the nice folks at Saint Pete Press and I have coordinated an effort to boast. We have begun to contact numerous people who are prominent and have a public connection with golf. We’ve sent copies of the book to book editors at newspapers, golf writers, golf broadcasters and even celebrities who golf.
In the last week, Church of Golf and old Spencer have gotten some return on their investment in boastfulness. And the truth is, it doesn’t feel half bad. Getting public recognition and appreciation is kinda nice. A fellow could get used to it.
On November 23, Tony Korologos, a blogger who posts at hookedongolfblog.com, mentioned Church of Golf and even published a photo of the cover. I’ve never met Tony but I like him already. I bet he’s one of those people who are especially kind to the frail and the naive.
Today, the student newspaper at East Carolina University, my alma mater, published a nice article about Church of Golf and its ridiculously handsome author. The reporter who wrote the story, Lindsay Rayner, talked with me on the phone for the better part of an hour and left me feeling like I had made a new friend.
And in the last week, two lovely people have posted reviews of Church of Golf at Amazon.com, and both of them gave the book five stars. The first, J.P. Grimm, is a stranger to me. The second, Dawn Hohl, is a friend. I will say a prayer for the good health and prosperity of both of these fine people.
I remain hopeful that Church of Golf and yours truly get more positive attention. Please forgive me if you and I meet up on one of those days when I am too pleased with myself for having gotten some.
It seems worth mentioning that as I was writing Church of Golf, thoughts of the golf movie ‘Caddyshack’ kept floating through my head. This led to several passages that were inspired by the movie. This led to images of the movie star, Bill Murray, a funny, funny man who starred in ‘Caddyshack’ and who appears completely joyful when he is on the golf course. These things led to thoughts of “Can I somehow get Bill Murray to read this?” and “Would Bill Murray write a review or maybe even pass this on to a famous screenwriter or director or movie producer or something?” Just as soon as I had resolved to find a way to get a copy to Bill Murray, opportunity reached out its fickle finger and rang my doorbell. I attended a lawyers’ conference in Charlottesville a few weeks ago and had dinner with a bunch of amusing lawyers (yes, they do exist), one of whom was from Charleston, South Carolina, where Bill Murray happens to live. We got to talking about celebrity encounters we’d had over the years, and The Dude From Charleston says he and Bill Murray play golf together from time to time. He would be happy to pass along a copy of my book. “If you get it to me on a Monday, Bill will probably have it by Friday,” he said.
Honestly, you couldn’t make this up if you tried. And if you tried, people wouldn’t believe it.
I wait (possibly in vain) for an email or a phone call from The Man. If I do hear from him, I plan to ask him about that ‘gunga galunga’ thing from ‘Caddyshack’ that has become almost a cliche’ utterance for golfers who have duffed a shot. Was that in the script or — as I have always suspected — was it one of those silvery dollars that favorite uncles spontaneously pull from behind the ears of small children?
It’s not immodest to think I’d have the chance to ask that — is it?
More to come soon, no doubt.