What would you do with your 15 minutes?

Andy Warhol was supposed to have said that that in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes (apparently, he didn’t. Probably he said it was just five).

As a writer I can’t help but notice that the scramble to be seen is becoming ever more frantic. In 2018, there were more than 1 million indie authors on Amazon, most of them hoping, at the very least, to sell a few books – and in their secret dreams, to become a household name like Lee Childs or E.L.James And that’s just the scribblers – there’s also the photographers, the fashionistas, the cat lovers, the travellers and those people who unwrap packages on YouTube. Nude.

So if I fail in the scramble to get my head up above the writhing masses, what then? If a book falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, has it really fallen? Who am I talking to, and does it matter if they don’t reply? Does anyone else feel there’s something a bit silly about jumping up and down like a kid in a classroom yelling “Pick me, Miss, pick me!”

Times have changed for attention seekers. The attention we crave has become scarcer than a self-deprecating comment by Donald Trump; if you want it, you have to get busier, louder, sexier. The market is glutted. Maybe instead of trying to catch the world’s ear, we should talk to the people who live next door. If it’s worth saying to a thousand people, it’s worth saying to one.

Which leads me to wonder – if you were absolutely guaranteed your 15 minutes of fame, what would you do with it? Is there something you’d like to say to the world that can be said in under 15 minutes and that is so important that you’d gladly give those 15 minutes of a lifetime over to saying it?

Come on then – what would it be? (And going from the, um, philosophical to the frivolous, here’s my song about bras – they shit me.

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25 Comments

  1. That’s a good question. I suppose it’s pointless to try to say something important like “be nicer” because no one will remember after my time is up. I guess I’d just be selfish and make everyone buy one of my books!

  2. The attention we crave has become scarcer than a self-deprecating comment by Donald Trump…..
    This just killed (which means made excellent beyond compare) your post. All of which is wonderful, btw.
    If I had 15 minutes of fame, I would do nothing, and thus be unusual. Sometimes I fantasize about having absolute power, but the fantasy is gone in under 2 minutes. I have to start making God like decisions, that even in my fantasy, would surely result in me going to Hell.
    I think there in a lot in favor of not being famous. Think of all the money and pain I have saved from plastic surgery to look like what I am not.

    1. Oh yeah, that’s a really good point about the plastic surgery. But nothing? Wouldn’t you like to tell people to eat their greens, or stop bulldozing the rainforest, or.. something?

  3. I used mine to try to educate people about our harmless little eight-legged buddies. I know it’s somewhat different for you in Upside-Down Land, but our British spiders are the shy and retiring kind who just want to be left alone.

    I also advocate for epilepsy awareness, and have just begun to write for The Mighty – so I’m a busy girl without even being able to get out of bed 🙂

    1. You sure are busy. Actually lots of our spiders are nice enough… I like huntsmen and wolf spiders, though I don’t want to cuddle them. I can’t understand why people are so bothered by spiders. Epilepsy awareness is a great cause too

      1. Believe it or not, I used to be horrifically arachnophobic! When I started to be paranoid about even stepping out onto the porch in case there were spiders there, I knew I had to do something about it. It took me six years of research and enforced contact (such as forcing myself to remain in the same room as one) but I got there. I’ve even helped arachnophobic friends who went on to become tarantula keepers.

        Huntsmen are quite popular as pets here. I’d love to have a davidbowie, but they’re really fast, and I’m epileptic – so it’s probably not a good idea! 🙂

      2. That’s so determined of you, I never would have guessed that you used to be arachnophobic. I’ll have to pinpoint some fear of mine and try the same thing..
        I know, work!

      3. My Mum is terrified of spiders, and when she was married to my father we used to see really enormous spiders on a regular basis (to this day, I swear they were mutated somehow). She tried to hide her fear from me and my younger sister, but when it’s that extreme you really can’t – and so my sister and I grew up with the phobia too, although I managed to never pass it on to my son.

        That weekend six years ago, my Mum phoned me on her usual Saturday and asked how I was. It went something like this:

        “Are you sitting down, Mum? I ordered a tarantula yesterday”

        “What?? A live one?”

        “Well yes. Why would I want a dead one?”

        She thought I meant a toy or something!

        She’s become better with spiders herself over the years, thanks to me, as she’s seen photographs of my pets and has even visited and sat in the living room without freaking. Recently she was able to leave a large house spider alone when it ran across her lounge carpet, remembering what I’d told her about how they only want to eat flies, and can’t survive outdoors (hence the name). I’ve got to say, I was quite proud of her 🙂

    1. Oh I dunno… maybe some famous guest will do something, um, famous right in front of you and then you’ll be on national TV. So what’s so special about you, Mr Hook, that Celebrity Jones picked you as her favourite ever bellhop? Well, you’ll say….

  4. I could say a lot of things–Stop using plastic! Stop using fossil fuels! Go vegan! and on and on. the real question is, even if I am famous would anybody take what I say seriously or just lump me in with Gwyneth Paltrow and other loopy celebrities?

    1. What I don’t get is why people think saying these things will change the world. Most people are rational and have their own thoughts, so just saying stuff isn’t going to change anything. People have their own way of thinking because they know the facts and have made their decisions. Always confuses me this one.

      1. Mm.. good point, but some of us do change our minds sometimes. I do, regularly. After all what’s the point of having ears and a brain if you never listen and learn?

      2. unless you are easily led, you are probably swayed by new facts. A change of heart implies an emotional change, but presented facts are the trigger. Most people will view with suspicion and think the opposite if someone tells them to believe something blindly.

  5. It’s not about who reads it, its about who writes it. Be happy being able to express yourself in a medium that has a huge lexicon, many others can’t. The “15 minutes” quote must almost be the falsest in history, both factually and morally, the idea of which has probably been used to get advantage over someone than any other.

    1. Oh yeah, I agree, the 15 minutes quote is rubbish. I just mean that we have an unprecedented epidemic of spotlight seekers.. probably due to the greater availability of spotlights. I am happy writing, but not so keen on promoting, like most authors.

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