Nobody can do the shingaling, like I do
Nobody can do the skate, like I do
Nobody can do the boogaloo, like I do
Nobody can do the Philly, like I do
So I spent 14 months writing a book that’s been out a year now. Maybe it’s a good book. People seem to like it, but what people haven’t done is continue to buy it. Maybe that’s not the book’s fault. Maybe that’s my fault. You see, for the most part, books don’t sell themselves. You’ve got to sell them and that’s hard work and not necessarily fun. In fact, you’re supposed to do all kinds of stupid stuff that I don’t really feel like doing, because I’m not really a pushy guy, and I’m shy about talking about my writing. And maybe I’m even lazy.
Which brings me, I’m not sure why, to the Human Beinz. But first, let’s listen to their song, and their amazingly incredible use of the word, “no.”
Man, when I was 13 I loved that song. Back in eighth grade in Northeast Philadelphia, we had these parties every Friday night, or maybe on Saturdays. It was like a circuit, this whole crew of kids, and someone always had a party, and they played post office. (I didn’t. I saw no point to going into a closet and kissing some randomly selected girl for five minutes.) Mostly we danced. We danced to Mickey’s Monkey by Smokey Robinson. We danced to Kicks by Paul Revere and the Raiders. We slowed danced to Cherish by the Association and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted by Jimmy Ruffin.
We danced to Simon Says by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, or some such outfit, and my favorite, everyone’s favorite, was Nobody But Me by the Human Beinz, who, for some reason, I thought were black, till I just found this wonderful video.
I should have started this blog ages ago, you see, because that’s one of the things writers are supposed to do nowadays if they want to sell books or get agents to sell books to big publishers who will then sell their books for them. (Well, in theory and myth.) They have to build a writer’s platform. They have to have 80,000 friends on Facebook, and 9 million twitter followers, and a blog filled with wit and wisdom and comments.
Well, you know, man, it strikes me as pretty stupid that every writer on earth is out there building platforms and cultivating social media presence and doing the Philly and the boogaloo and the shingaling, because that’s the only way they’re going to sell any books.
And I got a sore back from sitting too much. Plus writing hurts, not in some existential way, but in the lower regions of the spine. Plus I got a bad attitude and a severe case of not so much writer’s block, but just this paralyzing idea that I needed a strategy, a focus, something other than self-aggrandizement, or a feigned interest in the works of other writers, or a keen focus on civil rights, which is an important topic in my book, In Carrie’s Footprints. I convinced myself I needed a purpose and a plan other than just yapping so I could get a few fans and sell a few books and maybe impress a few agents with my writer’s platform.
So now nobody buys my book and it’s time that maybe I rouse myself from my malaise and do something about it. Besides, I like writing, just like I liked Nobody But Me and doing the skate and the boogaloo all those years ago when my back didn’t hurt and the only thing that did was my heart, for reasons I won’t get into.
And so here I lie, pecking at my Mac on my back, sometimes dictating the words and laughing at how the Mac interprets them, but writing at last, because suddenly it dawned it me. It’s my blog, and I’ll cry if want to.
Hit the Ibuprofen, hit the keys, and write whatever the hell you want.
And if nobody but me likes it, then nobody but me likes it.
Consider it therapy. And maybe it’ll make me happy. But then again, I’ve heard that happiness is just an illusion filled with sadness and confusion.
Those are some mighty fine lyrics. The only problem with the song is that it ends.
That was Leslie Gore singing Cry If I Want To. She passed away in February of 2015.
Jimmy Ruffin died in 2014.
And the Human Beinz? I have no idea.