“What is your vocation? To be a good person.” — Marcus Aurelius
April and May were a flurry of activity. Writing was mixed within numerous personal goals.
Kylie and I visited Caleb in San Antonio in late April, to celebrate his graduation from Basic Military Training. Upon finishing BMT, he was promoted to Private First Class due to his four years in JRROTC. We were only able to spend 8 hours with him – so we visited everywhere possible in San Antonio: the River Walk, the Alamo, and the Tower of the Americas. We bid him a fond farewell that evening, and he has been residing at Lackland AFB since then.
He is readying for his next assignment, and of course, letters and calls (when he has phone access) have been a normal part of the week. Then we spent the remaining few weeks of May helping Kylie through the end of her junior year of high school. She had numerous soccer games, an art show, and one final trip to Kansas City, where we enjoyed the day together before her departure. She flew to spend the summer with her mom in Philadelphia. She is also working on a summer class while looking for a part-time job.
I have always enjoyed lists offering the “best” of a various genre and why they can be very important. Of course, keep in mind that the lists can be relatively subjective and target only traditionally-published books. I am hopeful that independent lists will start forming soon, as independently-published books are positively changed the nature of publishing.
The following is one recent example that I included in the last update.
50 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time - What Is The Best Science Fiction Book Ever Written? (esquire.com)
You might be thinking: why would a list be inspiring?
For me, it helps me broaden my gaze. These lists offer ideas, authors, or genres I may not have ever thought of trying out. Lists now tend to replace one of my favorite things to do: visiting a bookstore. Waldenbooks held the first fantasy book I purchased with my own money. (Sadly, Waldenbooks is no more, but I can still remember picking that book off a spinning metal rack full of other fantasy novels) Borders and Barnes & Noble also provided me with many books that I found only by browsing the racks.
Part of the problem with finding a new book for modern readers is tied to the decreasing number of local bookstores. For example, a local bookstore I used to visit frequently closed in the last year. Now, the closest bookstore from me is 20 miles away. Scrolling Amazon for a new book simply doesn’t have the same impact as walking the aisles of a bookstore. The anticipation of visiting a bookstore (especially on a Tuesday when new books were released) sometimes held a great deal of excitement.
Nevertheless, I understand that brick and mortar bookstores simply aren’t as prevalent as they were even 10 years ago. As an author, I recognize new readers may only find my work through an online list or update, such as this one.
Thus, how do we create memories and outlets for new readers?
Create a list of the “best” novels and disseminate it far and wide. There is nothing wrong with that method, and I recognize that it can be very helpful.
Regardless, you’ll still not find a collection of philosophy books without browsing a local bookstore, such as Prospero's. 😊
The update for next month’s inspiration:
WPA (Works Progress Administration)
I offer you a challenge for the next month:
Take a few moments to think about what inspires you.
A place to ponder the world of writing, among other things.