On a completely random note, last week I was doing my homeowner duties and raking the leaves off of my front yard. It was with much regret that I scraped away the golds and the reds to make way for the bright green underneath, feeling more like a painter scraping away paint then a tired teacher who really needed to get back to his lesson plans. After raking the leaves onto my sidewalk, I ended up with a pile about a foot deep that extended almost fifteen feet down the concrete.
So I got the leaf blower. Nothing fancy, just one of those models that can be reversed to suck up the leaves and mulch them. One of my neighbor's kids, a young man of about four who loves to come visit me, was absolutely enthralled by the process of vacuuming up these little red and yellow bits. After watching me bag three loads for the trashcan, he pointed out that my "'leafsucker' looked nothing like his dad's did. Like most children, he followed up his statement with a question: Why?
"Well," I informed him, "your dad's leaf sucker will look different than mine because the whole world is full of different leafsuckers. Some are big, some are small, and some are different shapes and sizes. But that's okay, because as long as they still suck leaves, it doesn't matter if they're different."
"Oh," was his reply, and then he asked if I could stop sucking leaves and leave the mess for him to ride his bike through someday. He hung out with me for a while longer before his mother came to collect him. On their way to the door, she told him to thank me for the discussion on differences, which they hadn't really discussed with him. I stop to wave and think. In the midst of trying to answer a simple question, I had touched on something much broader than intended.
As a race, we are struck blind often enough by our own desires. We look to the immediate gratification of our near future, failing to look at the broader spectrum of our progression as a race. We often make decisions based on how much money we will make, or how much time we will save. But for what? It really doesn't matter what race, religion, or political affiliation we have, we should all be striving towards one goal: our own betterment. Atheists and Christians (for example) should focus less on arguing with each other about the ultimate fate of our immortal souls and more on how they could work together to build brighter futures for everybody. Yeah, these ideals may seem lofty, maybe even preachy, but it makes more sense for everybody to work towards a common form of happiness than to fight and argue.
It was with these thoughts that I looked at the leafsucker in my hand, and the job before me, pondering deep thoughts. In the end, it was easier for me to switch to a snow shovel, but the thought hasn't left me since.
I have, on occasion, had people ask me why my blog doesn't get updated very often. I have also been told that if I ever want to "make it," I need to spend more time making myself available, doing guest blogs, interviews, etc.
Well, I've got a little problem. I chose to graduate from college and get a job as a teacher.
What this means for me (and you) is that I have a priority to someone else right now (about 120 someones, actually), and telling me I can't "make it" because I am doing something else that I find important doesn't do me a lick of good. Sure, I could try stay up late, rush through school, and ignore parent phone calls. The truth of the matter is that I write, try and do it well, and hope my work speaks for itself. Sure, if I was making a living off of my books, I may reconsider careers, and devote my whole life to sitting in my office and hammering out tales of horror and adventure. Until that time, I have to rely on my readers. I host giveaways, hoping to draw people in, I have done interviews. Frankly, until summer comes, I don't have time to write, really, so patting myself on the back for the internet is really far down my list of priorities.
Allow me to make my point in a nutshell. If you, a reader, find yourself really enjoying an author's work, you have to tell people. Review it on Amazon, talk about it on Goodreads, or just go to work/school and talk about it with friends. That is the true support an author needs, particularly us Indies who do not have the cash flow to afford any true advertising.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have papers to grade.
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