Monday, February 23, 2015

folded up with a book...

The emphasis on reading in our current culture is strong. In fact, if you are not reading incessantly, there are those who may think there is something wrong with you. Certainly, if children aren't reading at an early age, we worry for them and pressure them to perform.

As I mentioned yesterday, reading fiction has been described as a transforming experience, but the odd thing is that you can watch an avid reader for years and years without perceiving any outward effect... Unless they are reading how-to materials, and testing in their own hands what they have learned. Several years ago I got an email from a man in Israel who said he slept with my books at his bedside. He wanted to think of his own creative engagement as he fell off to sleep each night. I felt honored to have had such an effect.

Open a really good book and fall in. You may fold yourself up in a corner of the house or nest under covers and feel as though you've partaken of transformation. Your emotions can rise and fall according to what the characters endure. But if you are truly unchanged when the book is folded shut, we can reasonably then question the "transforming power of fiction."

Today I proved the occasional merit of being a pack rat. Popular Woodworking books had asked to reprint my first two books in a new edition. That meant files were needed, but after signing the contract, they learned that they had tossed everything out, including the high resolution images and text files. Today I sent my slides off for scanning, along with a DVD that they had produced of .pdf files showing each page and containing all the text files necessary for the new volume. If I had not seen value in these slides and DVD, the new book could not be made.

It was more than just a stroke of good luck that I had saved the files. I had hoped that they would be of value at some point. Incidentally, those two books that helped my Israeli friend find sleep, are the two that will be compiled into a new edition.

Make, fix and create...

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