Monday, April 25, 2011

A Table Full of Books

This week I added 2,316 words to my Work In Progress. This is a definite improvement over last week, but I know I can still find more opportunities to write.

This past weekend, the family and I did a little yard sale shopping. Our mission, and we chose to accept it, was to find clothes for our kids. At one of the yard sales, I came across a table of used books. There must have been two or three dozen books across a variety of genres. There were big names like Steig Larson, James Paterson, and Tom Clancy, and there were authors I recognized from my wife's ongoing love affair with murder mysteries. There were also authors who names and works I didn't recognize at all. Hanging on the table was a sign that read, "All books, 25 cents." It was in that moment that I realized I don't look at books the same anymore. This wasn't simply a pile full of dead trees with ink sprayed in them. Each of these books represented someone's hopes and dreams and literally years of their life and millions of words they wrote to perfect their craft. They represented hundreds of query letters those authors received, and countless hours those authors (even the 'big' names) spent in front of a keyboard writing and editing. Now they were splayed before me, and I could have any of them for the price of a gumball. It was sad in a way. I fought the urge to gather the whole lot up in my arms and whisk them away somewhere.

I wonder what any of those authors would have felt to have seen their work on that flimsy card table. I wonder how I would feel to see one of my books on a flimsy card table being sold for next to nothing. I would probably be pretty happy. Happy that I had a book that an agent, and a publisher believed in enough at one point in time to publish. I might just snatch it up and buy it myself. 

1 comment:

Mazil said...

I'm a bit late reading this post, but very thoughtful and thought-provoking. Thanks to NaNo and writing more, I'm certainly viewing books differently now too. I'm appreciating the storycrafting in a whole new way, and it's great.

Physical books, though... I've always treasured them. It's strange to think that a cheap paperback can contain something so potentially influential or valuable.

Maybe it would be okay to see your book on a table? It could be a sign of success, that your book was mass-produced :)