On the flight to Phoenix yesterday I heard the familiar, “We will be landing shortly.” I always prefer to land “soon” but the phrase was reassuring in that it’s the title of the book I’m currently writing. It picks up my story where Stumbling Toward Heaven leaves off in March, 2011.
I’m more than a year into this personal narrative and I often ask myself, why bother? Why would anybody want to read about my life, filled as it’s been with medical calamities and spiritual questions?
The honest answer is that few people will. The same goes for the six new children’s books I plan to self-publish this year. I fully expect to wind up like Henry David Thoreau, whose first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), did so poorly the publisher made him buy more than 700 of the 1,000 copies printed. Thoreau quipped in his journal,
“I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven hundred of which I wrote myself.”
I have a few hundred copies of my previous titles in my garage but I keep writing books for two reasons:
To entertain – I share the worlds I conjure in my fertile imagination with others—mostly children—to brighten their worlds with a little adventure. Children of all ages love a good story, and there can never be too many of them.
To educate and encourage – I document my journey to help pilgrims like me who unexpectedly find themselves in difficult terrain, physically challenged and spiritually “out where the church buses don’t run.”
There’s a third reason to write books—to earn a living—but I haven’t done well in this regard.
Two out of three is enough to keep me going.