I got my second, reformatted copy of The Year of 42 in the mail on Thursday, and it looks okay. It still has a few layout flaws, but if I fix them, I’m afraid I’ll cause new problems. So I’m calling it finished. Ready to go.
Go where? That’s the question now. Some copies will go to Portland Mennonite Church on November 18, because what is a church community for if not to read one’s self-published books, right? A few copies will go on the side table in our community common house, because what is a cohousing community for if not . . . well, you get the idea.
But other than that? And the relatives, of course. Who else? I had always imagined I’d give a copy to Bill, the janitor at our school. Maybe even the man with the big white mittens who walks by on 185th every morning at 6:50am. After all, if you were mentioned in a book, wouldn’t you want a copy? But now that I actually have copies of the book, I’m feeling shy. Do I really want Bill, the janitor, to know that I’ve been immortalizing our casual little exchanges in the school hallway in print? Do I? Wouldn’t that make our future little exchanges a bit uncomfortable? I rather think it would.
One copy of The Year of 42 is on its way to Minnesota right now, to be auctioned off at an MCC sale there (MCC is the Mennonite organization that gives aide to people in need). And this is an example of what I take the most delight in, as an author. Not the sale of books that I’ve put out there for friends and acquaintances. They probably feel a bit obligated. There’s no way around it. They probably even feel obligated to tell me they liked the book. No, what I delight in is the unexpected travels a book takes all by itself, with no help from me at all. These people planning the MCC sale in Minnesota don’t know me. They asked if I could send an autographed copy of Mennonite in Blue Jeans, for them to auction off along with a signed copy of Rhoda Janzen’s Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. And since they mentioned that they are also including a copy of Rhoda’s new book, I mentioned that I have a new book as well, so they wanted to include that one also. Apparently they’re going to call our auction item “The Black and Blue Mennonite Memoir Debate.” I kind of wish I could listen in during the sale.
Too much of this, and I might start feeling like a real author. But probably not much danger of that. Tomorrow I’m getting a new student in my classroom. That’s a big deal in a classroom like mine. It changes everything. We’ll be going from seven students, to eight. And we’ll be adding a whole new set of unique and complicated issues to the mix. It will keep my mind occupied for a while.