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close brush with fame

updated sat 10 aug 02


primalmommy on thu 8 aug 02

Here's a funny story, and theme I have seen on clayart before when folks
have had experience with journalists. (I'm allowed to pick on
journalists, I "used to was" one.)

Two weeks ago I get a call from a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.
("In New York", she said, for emphasis, knowing full well that the only
thing between New York and San Francisco is barns, cows, tornadoes and
bumpkins like me.) In an only slightly condeschending tone, she told me
that she was writing a story on babysitting co-ops, and had come across
my website; she was calling to ask about the stoneware coins I make --
in hour and half hour denominations -- for folks to use as currency in
the childcare-barter of a co-op.

She got the spelling of my name, details about the coins (I later sent
her jpgs) and my town, and we emailed about some of the ways co-ops can
work and the benefits of using some kind of token to keep things fair.
(people being people, some folks would otherwise take unfair advantage
without a thought... and others would feel unwarranted guilt every time
they dropped off their kids with someone. The coins can be "earned" from
anyone in the group, and "spent" with anyone, but when you're out, you
have to do some babysitting to earn more.)

Anyway, I went into action: I stitched a pile of drawstring bags, and
started producing stacks of coins daily, wondering how many potential
customers might be reached by publication in a national newspaper. She
apologetically explained that they could not include my domain name in
the article, but I spent several nights up late submitting my info to
search engines, and some amount of money upgrading my site from "free"
to "premium" (since my free site shuts down temporarily if too many
visitors view it at once.) Come last friday morning, I was ready.

I got a call from a friend who had already picked up the WSJ for the
day, with bad news. Yes, the story was in, but it was entitled
"Babysitting by Committee" and apparently denounced babysitting co-ops
as impractical and doomed to failure... mentioning me as follows (in its
entirety) : "One vendor even hawks stoneware coins in hour and half hour

Now, it's POSSIBLE that such a glowing recommendations inspired people
to run to their computers, lusting after my coins... but due to some
glitch on the part of the folks supposedly upgrading my website, was shut down for six days -- before, during and after
the "big national media blitz" about my work. I was basically out of
business completely.

Friday was not my best day. I told my kids why I was disappointed;
Connor (6) offered to make his own newspaper with me in the headlines.
Tyler (8) said, "at least you're famous to four people...) I can laugh
now... my website is back to a freebie, my head shrunk back to its
normal size. If anybody needs co-op coins I can get you a good deal.
Just mention the wall street journal.

Yours, kelly in ohio... where I am not as honored as David Hendley whose
work is coveted by wal-mart, but I DO have... a photo of my
poppykettle.... hanging in... (drumroll please) -- the local Applebees.
(For those of you overseas, Applebees is yet another national restaurant
chain that caters to a "neighborhood" feel by decorating with local
knicknacks.) Please, no autographs. I know all you potters who have
merely appeared on, say, the cover of Ceraamics Monthly are just green
with envy about my Applebees placement.

Oh well, it will impress the in-laws when they come to town. I'll act
surprised... "Why, look over our table! I believe that's one of MY
works... I'll be darned..."

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Elca Branman on fri 9 aug 02

I can empathize with Kelly,because too had a close brush with fame , or
what i was hoping for, heaps of dollars following exposure.

The NYTimes use to run, pre Christmas, a page of gift suggestions.. They
contacted me about some porcelain angel-baby ornaments I used to make,
asked me for photos and sample, address, ordering info, and told me it
would run on a specific day about 3 or 4 weeks before th holiday.and even
sent me a letter saying so.

I got up on the morning it was due to be in, braved the snowstorm to
drive to where i could buy the NYTimes..opened it up eagerly, and

I simply wasn't included(Did I mention my investment in the right size
shipping boxes etc?)

When I called, they blithely told me space requirements had changed on
the page and that they were under no obligation to let me know...

so much for.dreams of glory and greenbacks ...sigh..(The bastards!!!!)

Elca Branman,in Sarasota Florida

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