I used to think authors were hermits who spent a lot of time sitting in a darkened study packed to the rafters with books, contemplating their next work with knitted brow. Every once in a while, they might become daring and go outside for a walk.
(I’m reading The Magician right now, about the life of German author Thomas Mann and that seems to pretty accurately describe much of his life.)
While this authorial stereotype may once have borne some relation to reality, today authors can’t exist in seclusion. With everything there is to see, watch, know or be informed about— diet fads! Crypto-Catastrophe! Kardashians! Amazon Hates When People Do This! Doctors Stunned! Contemporary authors compete more than ever before for mere slivers of attention, in a world where attention is the currency of the moment.
Through all the noise and mental clutter sprayed at us with firehose intensity every day, it’s a wonder people still manage to find books at all. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but find them, they still do. Incredibly, new independent bookstores are on the rise and, although fully one quarter of American adults haven’t read a book in the last year, book sales have nevertheless been rising every year for the last decade.
No matter what, it’s good news for people like me who write books, and hope people will read them. But that doesn’t mean I will be pondering the shadows of my darkened study anytime soon. Instead, you will find me on social media wearing fake mustaches and putting egg cartons on my head, all in an attempt to demand a few seconds of attention with which I can point to my book and its subject matter. In the process, I’m having a surprising amount of fun and learning skills I never thought I’d have. And every once in a while, I think: wow is this so… not what I expected my job description to entail.
If you’ve already pre-ordered Year of No Garbage, then I love you and you are my new best friend. Thank you.
If you prefer to purchase it on April 18th just in time for Earth Day, (And Earth Day gift-giving? Which I just invented?!) you are clearly a fabulous person with amazingly good taste. Thank you.
Either way, I encourage you to take a moment one day soon and go explore your local independent bookstore, packed to the rafters with books. They are some of the most wonderful places in the world.