J. Taylor Publishing’s ONE MORE DAY young adult anthology debuts December 2, 2013, which means my short story, Dragon Flight, will be available to millions of people to read.
Millions of people. What a mind-blowing concept. As a writer, that’s all that really matters – having my work out there for others to read and share. Sure, I’d like to top the best-seller lists. I mean, who wouldn’t like to be spoken of in hallowed greatness among YA fans of Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins? And while I’d like to have a theme park named after my novel, I think J.K. Rowling already cornered the market on that one. I do envision movies, however. Epic movies, with an all-star cast, maybe even directed by the great Peter Jackson himself, but I digress.
For now, I am thrilled knowing two of my short stories are out there and someone, somewhere is or will soon be reading them. The Amulet of Ormisez is available in e-book and in one week, Dragon Flight will be available in paperback and e-book, which just makes me jump up and down and squeal and do the little Snoopy happy dance. The idea of being able to hold and sign a book featuring a story of mine just blows me away. It is the ultimate high for this author. I’ll actually be able to give something tangible to my friends and relatives as presents this holiday season. It’s personal. I can write a note inside. I can hand it to them. There is nothing virtual about that.
I don’t know how I can explain what this means to me. I guess the only way is like this. We all know how great it is to Skype with our friends and loved ones. We get to see them, talk to them, laugh and cry with them…but it will never replace actually holding each other, touching each other, laughing and crying in the same room with each other. To give the gift of a virtual book conjures the same meaning for me. I’m not sure I’m ready to move into a virtual world, where everything we experience is on a reader, online, and someday, in a hologram. We’re losing our personal touch with people. We’re losing how to interact with people face-to-face. I think we’re becoming too tech savvy, so much so that we’re losing what’s ‘real’. And in our eagerness to progress, move on and be ‘up-to-date’, we’re losing valuable lessons, skills and a tangible form of art.
While I see the importance of e-books and I understand all the arguments for them, they can’t replace the authenticity, the sensation of holding a real book. There is something magical in turning the pages, experiencing the freshness or age of a book. Hiding under the covers with a flashlight as a child, so you can stay up to turn the last page of the chapter. To pass on and share a book without needing permission. I am in love with reading, but I’m also in love with books. Tangible books. Pages that will yellow with age, bindings that will crease and tear and perhaps even unbind from all the times it’s been opened and read. That’s what I want to happen to the books containing my writings. I want them to be well-read, loved, cherished, seen by many – not sitting in a dark reader to never be stroked, loved, needed and perhaps read only once before being cast into cyberspace. What a heartbreaking fate for some of life’s most beautiful words.