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Amber Paulen

Moving Along

2 August 2010


Nothing rose to plug the gap, to address what some called ‘ultimate concerns,’ unless you count the arts, the arts that lacked both epistemological methods and accountability, and that drew nutty people, or drove them nuts. —Annie Dillard, The Maytrees

Never have I been so filled with the surety that I am approaching the end of this process also called writing a book. After one more deft execution of character and the subsequent tying of ends, some editors, I dare say it’ll be finished. Or finished enough. In my mind, for near the first time, the text resides complete. The themes have fully emerged and I see that I may have done “something” with my past three years. (Wouldn’t this have been more helpful in the beginning?)

Thus I must confront and enter what is known as publishing. The mystery must be unveiled, my work’s worth must be judged. From this first glance it seems that publishing hasn’t changed much: commercial success has always been opposed to the literary. Good books provoke thought, they get deep without the reader knowing it. The market swells with consumable entertainment, books as awake as a piece of cardboard. And this is what I am proposing to enter. I must be crazy. Or they must be.

Among the traditions of publishing there is much that is changing, which I find equally exciting and confusing. Ebooks are the future and printed books are the past; War and Peace no longer has to lumber at four pounds but can be as svelte as an ipad. From the standpoint of words to reader, publishing has gotten easier. Yet, what to do about promotion? If I wasn’t such a failure at self-marketing I would try it. But then again, it doesn’t alleviate entering a veritable mountain range. Ebooks give greater freedom; there will be more rubbish than what gets printed.

One doesn’t cancel the other. The best is both. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Or, fortifying myself for the slog that is to come.

Attenzione! Simon has a new photo project: The Island in slideshow and gallery. Inspired by geographical locations of the same name and those that reside in our heads.



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