Saturday, February 7, 2015

Taking stock

These days I spend time trying frantically to market my book.

I know I am trying to prove something. That I am capable of this, showing that my drop of a book can glisten and rise to the top just as well as another in this vast ocean of media bombardment of all sorts? Or that I am smart? That I can make it a best seller by using sheer elbow grease? I have no name, no marketing millions to back me up. Just my street smarts (such as they are).

Seems like a futile exercise.

Makes me wonder. Does it matter if 500 more people read my book? Ten more libraries buy a copy?

I don't need the money. I am not in this for any sort of renown.

What then? I question why I even bothered writing it?

But then when I see my son insist on giving a copy to his teacher I feel a glimmer of understanding as to why it might all be worth it. This pride he feels will stay inside him in some shape or form, be formative, perhaps. A nice memory of his mother. Something he will pass on to his daughters and sons.  That feeling has meaning.

I read a very nice thought on a library website (as I was trying to contact them to pitch my book). Can't find it anymore but it said something like 'artists want their work to live on forever....and yet we always stop and admire butterflies.' I've done an awful job paraphrasing but the idea is, I suppose, that the simplest things are what remain most meaningful.

It is amazing how ambition can be blinding.

At first I was thrilled when a few libraries (major ones) agreed to buy my book.

Then my local library bought a copy. It was all I had ever wanted. To know that a copy of a book I wrote would be in my local library.

That was it. Should be enough.

And yet that slime of wanting more creeps in as more comes in. Lots of parables to cite on this one.

And the result is more anxiety, more stress. I took pleasure in that achievement for exactly five minutes. It was something I have wanted for years. How pathetic.

I don't know that I have the sauce in me to write another book and go through the wringer again. I am not that good a writer.

I have to believe what I say to people. That publishing a book and getting it in my local library was a bucket list item that I have finally checked off. A decade later than I had planned. But it has happened.

Then I think, should I now go on to another item on the bucket list? Is it even worth having such a list? Unless it is not one of ambition but of more accessible goals.

Perhaps I ought to learn from this, one of my favorite cartoons.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes