I'm really trying not to obsess too much on the imminent release of my first book, but it's an odd feeling to understand that a set of thoughts and ideas you've spent so long with is about to be frozen in time, stamped onto paper and sent out into the world. I know there's nothing new and noteworthy about these feelings - it's all been said before.
But here's something fresher. With the help of some tech-savvy friends and a fantastic electronic marketing guru at HarperCollins named Cory Beatty, I think I may have come up with a way to never have to completely let go of my book. Details are still coming together (but doing so very nicely I think), but the most important part of it is that if you buy my book, or even pick it up in the store to have a look, you'll discover that it contains a somewhat cryptic link to me. If you happen to have a cellphone with a camera, you'll be able to point it at my book, the physical thing, the dead lump of paper and ink, and make instantaneous contact with me. It's honestly not that complicated an idea, but it still seems like magic to me and I'm still working through all of the implications.
If you read this blog, you know that there's open commenting and that if you decide to chime in and say something to me then you can do so. It doesn't happen very often, but the opportunity is always there. But you also know that there's a funny sense in which this blog doesn't really exist anywhere. You can call it up to your screen as a bunch of electrons whenever you like, and then you can make it vanish just as quickly.
A book is a different kind of object. When this thing goes out, there will be lots of identical copies of my words that will (I hope!) land in all sorts of wondrous places. Some will sit on nightside tables. Some will travel on buses and trains. Some will be used to prop up unsteady legs of rickety tables. The big difference is that there will be no way to click on a button and make these books disappear in a flash (though a few may end up tossed into fires -- maybe during wet camping trips in Algonquin park when the kindling runs low). I don't know why this fascinates me more than the fact that I never really know who is reading my online words at any point in time (though I do have a few tools to track this). Somehow, though, the physical book makes a more intimate connection to me, perhaps only because it is more difficult to bring into and to remove from existence. So given that feeling of intimate connection between me and these physical copies of my thoughts, I'm tickled to death to think that each copy contains (on its back), a special little Shazam code that can be used to call the mothership. If you use the code, you and I will be connected. You can talk to me if you want to. Or just listen. Or maybe even win some kind of a prize.