Last night I sold six books for £42 and today I bought four new ones for £47, a net loss of £4. The books I bought are: The Scorpion Fish by Nicolas Bouvier, This Road I Ride (by Juliana Buhring, a gift for H after listening to an interview with the author on Radio Five), Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, and Chernobyl Prayer, the 1997 collection of stories brought together by the Russian journalist Svetlana Alexievich.
They are four strange books, defying convention, written without genre in mind, the author’s own creation of what a book should be — inspiration and daunting, too; but isn’t my own published book also a form outside of the typical genres whose boundaries it overlaps (I won’t say transgress)? These books are now added to my reading pile–as you can see there is little room left for more.
Yes, daunted — I feel unwell today, a little drained, a poor stomach, I don’t know. Knowing I need to “go again” this evening and be the centre of attention … No. It is not about me, but the animals, if I’m doing it right. If I’m doing anything I am pulling people together to strengthen the community, not around my book but around the subject).
The books I have bought are, as Ryan Holiday suggests, an investment — they are my work — and I long to be writing again on a book — perhaps I am, no, Franz? — and yet, no, I am not yet focused on turning these scribblings into a book. (Nor am I yet back to the Chernobyl book… but that time is coming… and I have begun to think of others, too, the Faroe book, the book about our fathers’ debts to us, and ours to them…)
I need to write and not waste time. Not to pine over potential job interviews, not to worry about academic pressures or goals, but to write the books I care about — any form, any genre — but one day at a time. My job is to maximise the time I spend on one project at a time. (Or a maximum of two, one fiction and one non-fiction, because I will have to do this between now and April 2017, anyway, with the EJ book.) (Franz: “Aleks: preferably one at a time, please!”)
Sit, be still. I must do my work. I hear you, Franz: “Don’t waste your time in an office.” I must not do the work of others. This work is mine to do: this writing and reducing injustice, this connecting and creating, fiction or non-fiction or criticism, the hybrid, the mixture of forms and genres…
OFD will be like The Argonauts — personal and critical. EIBU, the same. Chernobyl? Publish it! Faroe? Write it! And vegan books? Perhaps. Perhaps….