By some swing of the cosmos I made it to a public library today. (Okay, so I had to go get a haircut and this is where I wait for my ride to get off work.) Everytime I come to a library I feel very nostalgic, since when I was a child I practically read my life away and the library was a source of most of those books. And since then I have worked for a library and seen my mother work for a library, thereby stripping away most romantic images of them to nothing more than another place where workers squabble with each other and have to deal with the notorious public. Oh yeah, and there’s books there. People still read those in physical form now?
I once read an exercise for aspiring authors to do whenever they are in a bookstore/library. You go to the shelf in the section of where your works would supposedly end up, based on whatever name you’re publishing by. Obviously this would be in the “B”s for me, and I often do this exercise when I am bored. I head over to the fantasy section and, as the exercise describes, create a space where my first novel would go. The idea is to see what a shelf would look like with your book in it…I guess you’re supposed to imagine that a space is there because some enthralled reader has either bought or checked out your book. You know, I’m delusional, but not THAT delusional.
What is it about libraries – or bookstores – that make you want to just buckle down and write? Oh, right, books. But seriously, I always get a recharge walking into libraries and seeing people check out books, talk about books…use the internet (like me right now!), get pissy with each other, let their children run around screaming…
What was I talking about?
Oh, right. It’s at these moments, of imagining yourself amongst the ranks of the best that you feel an attainable goal is within your reach. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: “But Hildred! These are famous people! How is it attainable to get my book next to one of them?!“ Fear not, gentle reader. Do the exercise with me. Since I am here I went over the fantasy section just around the corner from me and figured out where I would go. Currently my novel would go between the authors, “Joanne Bertman” and “John Birmingham”. I’ve never heard of either of them! And guess what, neither of them have heard of me! We’re even! (Seriously, who are these people?) Then again the only fantasy author I know off the top of my head whose name starts with a “B” is Peter S. Beagle. Hm. Unicorns.
Point is, odds are you haven’t heard of most of the authors on any given bookshelf. Sure, you may be somebody who would end up next to Stephen King or J.K.Rowling. But think of this as free publicity as opposed to being intidmiating. It’s not like their book is going to beat up your book on the shelf. Or maybe it is. It’s not like we know what books do while we’re away, other than randomly appearing on the tops of people’s heads for balance practice or underneath glasses as coasters. (See, I knew I’d find a use for Atlas Shrugged.)
I just have one problem with this. Why am I always on the bottom shelf? I am such a lazy person, I don’t want books on the bottom shelf. I’d rather just have somebody grab a book for little ol’ short me from the top shelf. Especially during allergy season when perusing the bottom shelf makes gravity turn allergies into a fact of physics. One of those times that I don’t even think a splendiferous cover would catch somebody’s attention down there. I blame Asimov for this. He’s got like fifty books taking up shelf space above me. Come on, we could just watch any of the movies, thereby eliminating about 25 books. I move up a whole two rows! I would look there!
Of course I jest. Kinda. I really am that lazy.
Now as I part from this really strange ramble I am going to show just how applicable my blog title is. I just spent like…two hours writing this. Constantly getting sidetracked. I mused for two hours. And didn’t get any actual writing done…aside from about two paragraphs.
I need to stop procrastinating.
…except John and Joanne just invited me to a party for the bottom shelf. We’re gonna go hang out with Mercedes Lackey and some Star Wars books. At least I’ve met them before.