When I decided to start self-publishing, people began asking me if I can get my book in stores, to which I’ve said no, not really. They almost always ask in amazement, “Don’t you want to see your novel in book stores?” I usually shrug and say no and ask why they think it’s so important, but they don’t have answer for that. It begs the question – if they don’t know why I would want it, why are they amazed I don’t? Stuff like that makes me feel sarcastic, and one day I improvised this rant about it (and thought it was funny at the time), so I decided to share my sarcastic answer, which goes like this…
Why would I want that? What am I supposed to, drive twenty minutes to the nearest one, find it there, and gaze lovingly at it, and then drive home? Is this what you’re imagining:
I excitedly drive to the book store and find my book on a shelf. It’s easy to find, what with the golden glow emanating from its cover, bathing my face in holy light. With a gasp of delight, I reach for it with trembling hand, eyes wide in anticipation. My fingers close around the binding, a thrilling jolt startling me. I pull the book to me and lovingly gaze at the cover. I open it, the crisp pages emitting a crinkling sound like the most delicious of Pringles. Now I’m hungry, but the rapture I feel fills the void of dark despair that has long dogged me, and I no longer experience mortal pains. I pull the tome to my chest, embracing it wholeheartedly.
And with a smile, I begin to spin, and spin, and spin, gazing up at the ceiling as if I can see the crystal clear sky right through it, for in truth, my eyes no longer see the physical world, enraptured as I am by divinity. I just keep spinning – even long after I lose my balance and stumble into the bookshelf. It teeters, totters, and then with a mighty crash, it falls backward, dumping book after heavy book onto the poor schleps on the other side. It strikes the book case behind it and it, too, topples over, crushing and maiming still more people. The bookcases, they fall like dominoes around the room, smashing the hopes and dreams of anyone in their path, leaving a ruin of broken and battered humanity in their wake.
And all the while, I continue to spin, unmindful of the destruction I have wrought, seeing nothing of the pools of deep red blood collecting around my twirling feet, or the frantic attempts to lift the weight off victims, or distraught bystanders. The angry accusations of witnesses pass me by unnoticed. The screams and groans of the victims I hear not, for only the heavenly singing of angels can reach me now.
Even the sirens of the ambulances, police, and firefighters with their Jaws of Life, cannot pierce the rapture enveloping me. The cameras from local TV reporters capture the bizarre sight of a blissfully spinning author in the midst of carnage so awful that even the rescuers are overcome with despair. Weeping abounds. Many will need counseling and suffer PTSD for long, terrible years. But not me.
Even when the police Taser me, hit me with a stun gun, and crush my limbs with batons, I twirl onward, until at last I am tackled to the bloody floor. They pump me full of thorazine and attempt to put me in a straightjacket, for they have determined that I have indeed gone mad. Yet they cannot pry my glowing book from my clutches to bind me.
The nurses say, “Oh no dear, he’s on no medication. He’s been like this ever since he found his book on a bookstore shelf. He’ll likely stay this way until he dies. His mind, heart, and soul have already left.”
Finally the day comes when I have wasted away, but even then, they cannot pry the book from my cold, dead hands, forcing them to bury me with it. They close the casket at my funeral, for no one can stand the creepy grin I still wear. Finally I am lowered into the ground, six feet under, and there I lay for all eternity, the maggots, bugs, and rats crawling all over my decomposing flesh, the golden glow of my novel bathing us all in eerie light.
You’d think I’d never seen the damn thing before.
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