Back in 2008 I wrote the Picture Book of Spells. It was an inner child free-for-all and I still delight at how it makes professional artists cringe. Yes, the world needs good art. It also needs fun. It’s a self-published pdf file that’s probably being pirated as I speak. *shrug* I can’t fix the entitlement of others, and sitting on my creative ebullience will just make me sick and miserable. Besides, the things that really matter have a way of getting supported. While I’d prefer to be paid for my working – and my best clients seem happy to as long as I deliver my end – in the end, I’d rather put my energy into creating a new approach for getting business rather than bludgeoning those breaking rules because the current paradigm still doesn’t know what to do with all the new technology. I bring this up not because I’m schilling it more than usual, but because this past weekend’s file-disappearance and file recovery has brought to light a lot of my old writing work. Publishing is making the mistake of the US military: it’s always fighting the last war. I think the only reason we’re still in Iraq is because we finally figured out the best way to get war equipment to work on sand. Publishing, both music and print, is still fighting the battle of the naughty school child, shoplifting books. What’s happening here is still theft but it’s a whole lot more complicated, and the only way to change it is to make your product so interesting that most people will pay for it. ((Which is why I would love to see “Read all about it!” newsies on street corners again. That entertainment alone would get me to pay for a paper.))
Which brings me back to my own situation, and my own “sidestep the usual tradition.” A lot of the pieces I have are poems, for which there is next to no market at all, or they are essays that I couldn’t find a publisher for and probably won’t because of the rapidly shrinking zine market unless I get really lucky with one of the major sites out there. Also, I have a new property on my hands: the standard contract for Llewellyn annuals publishing allows copyright to revert back to me after five years. I’ve been writing for them for ten years as of this year. And while I may not have felt supported by my colleagues in grad school ((if you didn’t score a TAship or a prestigious grant, you got treated by the other students like a waste of space. But unlike a lot of them, I was an internationally published waste of space.)) I did some really good work there, especially in years one and two. Not all of it was magical writing, but some of it is still a good read to someone.
So my thought, considering that I have easy access to a pdf creator, is to assemble an anthology of my written works, some published, some not. I realize this could be like one of those relentless one-playwright theater shows where you’re begging for waterboarding at the end, but on the bright side, I won’t know when you close the book – but the playwright knows and might embarrass you if you try to leave the theater. I could offer the pdf like I do the spellbook, and have a print on demand option at Lulu.com. Would anyone have an interest in this?