A new friend in my author’s group sent me an email yesterday. It came shortly after my teary confession regarding my book showing up on Amazon.com. She wrote to tell me she also found me on the Barnes & Nobel website and sent me the link. Yes I did spill a few more happy tears. It’s a big deal to me because, as I mentioned before, this most definitely is the means to an end. On an emotional level however, it’s not about potential sales.
Were my life a road that anyone could drive down, they’d see scattered and discarded objects reminiscent of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath – that cross stitch kit I barely worked on, those classroom materials I never completed, the partial projects and myriad other things tossed here and there left unfinished and forgotten. There’s no difference between Grandpa Joad’s favorite chair being discarded and the flotsam and jetsam on the roadside of my life. It’s simply relevance. The family didn’t need to drag the chair along because Grandpa Joad was no longer around to use it. I merely fed off the learning process and the project itself became irrelevant to me.
I’m a person who likes to learn. I start something, fulfill the need and absorb the processes, then drop it. Completion is not always the point and it’s not at all about boredom and a short attention span either. People who know me well know I can be as attentive as a bloodhound on a cross-country manhunt. Unless it’s something I find extraordinarily interesting or multifaceted, I usually sink my fangs into it, absorb its potential, learn from it, and often walk away happy. Happy because there are so many other things to take its place and my mind is chomping at the bit to begin the process all over again. An outsider might think that’s flighty but really it’s not. It’s relevance.
So for me, actually getting a book in print, not an ebook mind you, but an actual page turning book made of paper, is a huge event in my life in more ways than one. It’s also so out of character for me because the process, like the story itself, has a beginning, middle, and an ending. Well, not ending precisely – a page in the larger cyclopedia of my life has been turned and another chapter has begun. Reflecting upon this while I listen to the robins and drink my morning cup of coffee, I understand at last how it was I was able to see this project to the end – the shifting antigen flu.
Steven King wrote The Stand ages ago. In it, a man-made virus called the shifting antigen flu decimates the human population worldwide by changing its nature each time the body comes close to beating it. I do shifting antigen writing. Each time my interest considers hopping onto the next topic, I don’t. I go to the six books all simmering concurrently in the crucible of my skull and pick another one to work on. Any given day will see me crafting a scene in one or more books at once. There’s so much more that feeds my mind this way. Research plays a huge role and there’s much self-editing, story building, and character development. Then there’s the new experience of blogging, those blurbs I must turn in to the publisher, the professional edits I must see to, and this whole new business of networking. In the latter I find I want to physically sit down with these wonderful writers in my group and pick their brains until the sun goes down. Like I said, I love to learn. And to my delight, there’s plenty to feed my brain. It’s a shifting antigen process. The roadway should be clear of debris from here on out.
By the way…I plan on eating two slices of cheesecake to celebrate Hermes Online at Barnes & Nobel! 🙂