Finishing a book is still on the bucket list

“When the zombie apocalypse knocks out the electricity in town and the internet is down, your books will still work just fine.”—from 50 Reasons Real Books are Vastly Superior to eBooks by David Ferrer

As I am again itching to dust off my long-labored book drafts with thoughts of finishing one, I’m reading that printed book sales are up and eBook sales are slowing for the first time since Kindle came on the scene. Those reports parallel others of school districts returning to real books and pitching the pads. Research supported reasons, outside of Ferror’s satirical thoughts, include reading comprehension and retention are better with “old-timey” printed books. Works for me, too.

I’ve both collected and accumulated “old-timey” printed books since I was in high school…shortly after the printing press was invented according to my kids. Reading and writing are two things that keep me going. Keep my creative clock wound. Keep me somewhat sane—to the degree that is possible.

After a career of writing everything from news stories, to columns, to technical and promotional writing plus teaching writing skills, my one remaining writing goal is a book, something I’ve been working on since long before digital books came along.

I tried digital, didn’t work for me. I confess to keeping a couple of books online accessible for reading primarily while waiting to see the doctor. When appointments run long past time, a book or two on the phone is a nice way to justify wasted time.

Beyond that, I want real books. Books that I can recognize across the room by looking at the spine. Books that have a distinctive smell much like the olfactory experience of sitting in an old car each with its own distinct automotive aura. Books, any one of which I can pull off one of my shelves and quickly turn to almost any passage I want to revisit regardless of how many years ago I read it. Can’t do that with digital; have you ever thought about why?

Mark Hom on SciTech CONNECT says that’s because the human brain is analog and not digital. For instance, if someone asks directions to a destination, do you reply, “Take US 96N 11 miles to 59N, then Texas 149 5 miles to 281? The majority of us are more likely to answer, you go down here (while pointing) about 11 miles or so to the Denny’s and turn right on the loop then go around to the exit at the Shell station.”

Whatever directions I may follow attempting to add “author” to my resume, I have some ideas about what I want to write should flames miraculously erupt from the embers of my rubbing words together anytime soon.

Plus, I now have new inspiration with three of my colleagues from the ranks of newspapers having published books in the last couple of years. Gary Borders who has published a number of newspapers in his long career wrote, “Yours Faithfully, J.A.” chronicling the life and times of newspaper editor and publisher H.B. Fox. Lou Antonelli at the Clarksville Times published his first novel following numerous award-winning short stories which he terms alternative history. It’s titled, “Another Girl Another Planet,” a novel about secret government agents and a photo taken by a Mars lander. Then there’s Kari Collins at the Iowa Park Leader who, along with Kevin Slimp, published, “Haunted Places and Ghost Sightings Across Texas,” stories from the pages of Texas newspapers about paranormal activity.

Hopefully, one of my drafts will come to normal activity fruition for reading in the form of a real book and I can join the ranks of my published friends before I get to the end of my bucket list … and also hopefully long before the zombie apocalypse.

—Leon Aldridge

Aldridge columns are also published in the Center, Texas Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Tribune, the  Taylor, Texas, Press, the Alpine, Texas, Avalanche.

© Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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