If I told you it was still snowing would you be surprised?


This book has been so long in the making that I think every single person who has been any sort of part of it now swears when they mention it. Barring disaster [which I have said several times previously and then endured several near-disasters] it’s at the damned printer. I’m not sure I ever linked to the final version of the essay I wrote about writing the book, but you can read it here and expand the timeline out into April a little bit but I’m really hoping the next email I get about it is asking “Where do we send your copy?” The crazy thing is that I know that even though I swear I will never write another book again–something you frequently hear from authors at this point in the game–I’m also still thinking what my next book might be about. Irrational.

Anyhow, if you know me you’ll know that I’d never tell you to go buy my book. Buy what you want. That said if you want to buy it ABC-CLIO sent me this flyer (with the old name of the book on it lord help me) offering 20% off to TXLA attendees and, really, anyone who types in the promotion code. You can grab the flyer here. I think if I do the math right, I’ll have to sell 130+ copies before I have even paid off my (quite capable and terrific) indexer, much less me. I wonder what it’s like to actualy do writing for a job as opposed to writing because you can’t not write? My landlady keeps asking me when the book is coming out because she thinks that once it’s out she can read it and know how her computer works. I do wish that were so but it’s probably not.

Meanwhile we’re having the last snowstorm of the season and I’m reminded that having a slightly porous memory can be helpful so that I don’t remember that I’ve said this “last snowstorm of the season” thing before. I went down to MA this weekend where there was enough spring-pollen-ish stuff in the air that my seasonal allergies (and some associated vertigo) kicked in. In other Jessamyn-health news I went for a checkup and am in terrific outward shape but probably need to do something about my cholesterol and the weird ache I have in my shoulder. The health insurance I have through work actually gives me money [well gift cards, which are sort of like money] for getting an annual physical. And, since I have multiple jobs, I have an additional workplace wellness program at the other job which gives actual money (not gift cards) for doing a bunch of crossword puzzles about health-related topics and keeping track of my sleep schedule.

There’s a new tapas place in town which I know looks like a typo but is true. I went there with some friends last week and am going to check it out again today. Pretty sure I can get cholesterol-friendly tapas. Today is the first day of the rest of my winter.

oh yeah, about that book


It’s finished! Well by finished I mean I sent it off to the editor and expect to not hear about it for a while. So, from the time my [soon to be] editor wrote to me saying “I’m an acquisitions editor … and I’m looking for someone to write a book on technology and rural libraries. Are you interested in exploring the possibilities?” and the day I emailed the manuscript back to her, a little over a year went by. But really, if you look at the picture, I did most of the actual writing/typing in the past few months. And fractionally, I did an awful lot of it in the last ten days.

This last spurt is not because the book wasn’t basically done, it was, but because there were a whole bunch of other “Oooh, I should really make sure I mention that” ideas that came up when I was sleeping or eating or doing one of the other very short list of things that I’ve done in the past week. This short list did not include much in the way of getting out of my pajamas, showering, exercising, or what I’ve come to call “deferred maintenance” around the place. I did manage to feed the birds, feed me, answer the phone and do a few short stints at an actual library (which would send me home with an “I’ve got to make sure I mention THAT” bee in my bonnet, lather, rinse, repeat).

Anyone following along with Twitter would have been able to follow along with my word-count-as-zip-code which, when combined with a neat looker-upper like this one by Ben Fry gave me a loosely east-to-west trajectory which was a better general way to feel that the project was actually progressing. By the time I turned in my 98506 (Olympia Washington!) word draft, I was not hating it, which is more than I can say about my college thesis.

The book is due to come out in January 2011. It’s for sale on Amazon and it is totally okay with me if you do not buy it. Really. The thing about writing books is that in almost all cases, it’s really not something you do because you’re going to make any money. If I thought I would have been able to keep to a writing schedule through my own independent motivation, I would have maybe self-published if cash were important. I probably have the reputation and self-promotional chops to actually sell the thing on my own. But I never would have written it.

Having a real publisher and a real human editor is the only way this project really got done. And so my 15% or whatever it is that I take home when someone purchases my book basically rounds to zero when I think about how much time I put into it. And with my critique of capitalism generally, and how this revenue split works out, I know my younger self would basically be telling my current self that I’d be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. I’m okay with that. I think people will buy it and read it, and a good chunk of them will like it okay. And with any luck at all they can take some of my advice to heart (whether through agreeing or disagreeing really, just be thinking about it) and use it to help the people who really are getting the short end of the stick in our brave new information age. That’s what I would like, besides a good shower and a nice reunion with the outside world.

underwater lullaby

decker demonstrates good yoga form

Hey when it rains, it rains!

This was what passes for an exciting week around here. I did some socializing in the Boston area at a game night, saw Jim and stopped by to see my Dad (and pets), came back home to find that I was cartoonified on the cover of Library Journal. I finally made that song that I’ve been talking about, since we’re now two months with a broken Google Map. Please listen and enjoy. I may make a movie of it.

I also came back thinking I had to turn right around and write a talk and drive to Utica New York today but it turns out that’s next week. The time sensors in my brain, they are a little busted. I blame May with its five weekends. Utica is next week, so I have some time. It’s 60-ish in my house today since it’s cold and rainy and the furnace has been turned off for the season. If it gets too terrible I’ll just get back into bed with the electric sheets.

I am third in my “rundle” in the trivia league so far this season. If you really like geeky stats stuff you can see the rest of my stats here. If I stay in the top six I’ll move up to the next level, otherwise I’ll footle around in this level some more. It’s been fun playing “no looking stuff up” trivia, but man have I become dependent on ready internet access for a lot of my knowledge lately. Almost every time I miss a question I’m certain I could type two or three words into Wikipedia and find it. I’d love to try a trivia league where you could look stuff up with the presumption that the questions would be so tough that it wouldn’t help. Maybe that wouldn’t be trivia then. In any case, it’s a quick and fun distraction from the book-finishing that is occupying the rest of my waking brain function. Do wish me luck.

the most boring people in the world are writing books

Jericho Town Library

I swore I was only going to write here again when I explained how the town finally got out of the lake, but it’s there still and I had a few things to say.

First, yeah wow, I’m a little surprised that it takes this long to correct an obvious map error, but that’s sort of the good news/bad news about doing your business in the cloud yes? Google Maps is great because it’s got a ton of data and delivers it to people with very little human interaction needed. Downside being when you need a human it’s pretty much impossible to get one.

I took a day off from writing yesterday (I’m ahead with my word count) and drove to Underhill after having lunch with my friend Stephanie in Montpelier. No idea how I missed Underhill before. In fact I’m pretty sure I must have been there before but the maps show no highlighter pen and I can find no record of it. Underhill is sort of a co-town with Jericho. They even have a shared website: Two Towns Online. The back road I wanted to take was under construction, a casualty of the weird snow we got this week, so I got to take fairly normal roads to get up there. And there was snow! I stopped at the local library [not the one in the photo] and did a little email checking. Once I got home I was curious about the funky looking building that also said library on it. Of course, there’s a web page explaining it.

I’ve installed keylogging software on my machine because I’m convinced that whatever amount of words I’m typing for the book, I’m doubling it with email, blog posts, chatting and whatnot. I wanted to check if that was actually true. I realize this makes me a crazy person. I will report back with my findings.

The bigger deal is just that as much as I’m enjoying writing this book, watching the word count increase, getting my thoughts on paper, I’m also somehat blasé about it, sometimes to the point of being downright yawningly bored. I can’t explain to people what it’s about without apologizing and even though it’s all I think about lately, I feel like I have nothing to talk about when I chat with friends. “Still writing the book.” I say. “Great.” they say. And then we talk about the weather or something interesting. I realize that this is normal. I felt this way about my thesis. I’m sure I will miss these days, when the book wasn’t a set of words on a page but a set of ideas in my head. Fixing things to paper gives them a terrible finality that makes me somewhat nervous.

I look forward to having something else to talk about, just a month or two left. And in the meantime, I read quotations from the other Jessamyn West, who had been writing much longer than I have.

Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers having had their hell on earth, will escape punishment hereafter.”