Yesterday I got to sign and sell a copy of my book about Plotinus to two people who share one body. Reading Keith’s posting today on his always-entertaining blog, it seems that I sold the copy to Imaginary Keith, who then took it home to Real Keith. Or maybe it was the other way around. No matter. I’m just happy that “Return to the One” is in the hands of two more readers, who just happen to inhabit the same brain.
I also was happy to learn from the posting that whichever Keith it was who fixed our sprinkler head is only going to charge for the few minutes of actual garden maintenance he put in during the several hours he was at our house. The rest of the time Keith and I talked about our blogs and writing, which is ever so much more interesting than trying to figure out why some spots in the lawn aren’t getting watered.
Luckily, landscapers don’t bill like lawyers. If Keith was an attorney I could expect to get a bill from him any day now: “Sprinkler repair, five minutes--$3.75; pre-repair conversation with client about miscellaneous matters, ninety minutes, $67.50. Total--$71.25.”
We covered quite a bit of “miscellaneous matters” ground standing in the shade by the front door while Keith’s two man crew bustled around in the hot sun doing our annual pruning. Maybe they thought we were engaged in a deep discussion about the Hines’ landscaping needs. Yeah, right…
We had bigger fish to fry that day, like talking about how it is that authors can stay (minimally) sane when they spend years writing a book, and then (1) publisher after publisher rejects the manuscript, until finally the book is printed and (2) reviewer after reviewer sits on their hands rather than review the book, after which (3) distribution glitches lead to online retailer after online retailer screwing up the book’s listing and stocking status, until at long last the book is finally ready to be bought and then (4) prospective reader after prospective reader decides to watch Jeopardy instead of delving into some Greek philosophy.
Oh, did I say “authors” in the paragraph above? I should have said “Brian.” But things probably aren’t as bad as 1-4 sound. I’m just in the one-month-after-publication stage, the authorial version of post-partum depression. You look forward so much to getting your book born after a seemingly endless four-year gestation. Yes, it will be so great to nestle the little tyke in your arms and have people come up and say, “She’s so cute! Can I pick her up?” Sure, at Amazon for $16.99 plus shipping. Take her home with you.
But the Real book adoption process always takes longer and is more involved that the Imaginary process in the author’s dreams, Oops, there I go third personing again. My dreams. My Erica Jong-like fantasy is not for zipless body f__ks but for effortless book s__es. Which actually happened with Imaginary and Real Keith, but they’re a special case: natural born philosophers, born to be wild--ly enthusiastic about a 3rd century Greek named Plotinus who they want to have coffee with.
I liked how the Keiths could write so much about my book after reading just two paragraphs of it. Good writers can weave a rug from a single thread. It will be interesting to see what happens when they get to the “Myself Is Multiple” chapter. Will they agree with it?