I May Have Sort of Written a Book

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve written a book. “FINALLY!” Some of you might now say. “I’ve said for ages you should do this.” The reason I haven’t told anyone until now is that I absolutely hate talking about stuff I’ll do without being absolutely certain I’ll do them. Perfectly. And the best way of being absolutely certain you’ll do something, perfectly, is to already have done it. But I’ve come to see that there are a few pitfalls with this strategy:
  1. If you don’t tell anyone you’ll be writing a book, you’ll feel compelled to keep doing everything else you’ve already been doing on a daily basis just to keep up appearances, i.e. keeping up your blog (not to mention checking homework and cooking dinner,) and the time slot left over for actually writing your book will fall between midnight and two  in the morning, meaning you will have to take a loan on your future book royalties to pay for the Nespresso capsules you need to keep going.
  2. If you don’t tell anyone you’ll be writing a book, the only person who’ll be encouraging you to write your book will be you, and every writer knows that that is possibly the single worst person in the world to give you any positive reinforcement.
  3. If you don’t tell anyone you’ll be writing a book, you won’t have any deadline. Meaning every other thing landing on your desk that has a deadline, like calling the exterminator, folding laundry, buying groceries, and making a dentist appointment for your spouse and children will appear on your to-do list above writing your book, which gets us back to point 1).

Given all this, it seems as if the risks of NOT telling anyone might actually outweigh the risk of spilling the secret. Because what’s so bad about people knowing you’re writing a book?

I’ll tell you what’s bad. Now you actually have to write that (gulp) book! The good news is that I have, in fact, written it. For the last three months, I have labored away and manufactured a coherent story out of my (and Zax’s) Kilimanjaro climb that I think is halfway readable, devoid of the most glaring typos, and actually adds tons of new material and information not previously found in my blog posts on the same topic. So that even my most loyal readers will get something out of it instead of feeling cheated. “Great,“ you might say, “where can I get it?” Well, ahem, you can’t. Not yet. Because “devoid of any typos” of course doesn’t even begin to meet my standards (you might call them anal but I like to think of them as professional). If I’m going to write a book, I’ll do it well. Or at least try. So for the last few days, ever since I made the final save on ‘Kilimanjaro Diary’, I have been educating myself about the world of book publishing. Self-publishing, actually, because the idea of sending off my manuscript and then waiting for years for a response, which most likely will be a stack of rejection letters if I am so privileged to even get any at all, does not appeal to me in the least. I’ve been a blogger with the power to instantly publish for too long to want to go through that. But even self-publishing needs to be professional. More so, actually. I could just go ahead and upload all 68,000 words through Amazon’s Kindle Publishing and voila, you could be reading about sore feet and stunning vistas and toilet tents and perseverance (but really, mostly toilet tents) as early as tonight while sipping a nice glass of wine.

But I won’t. Instead, I’ve been reading Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing by ... 

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Pumpkin Flavored Dog Treats and Other American Obsessions

As Halloween frenzy was approaching a fever pitch – which it seems to me nowadays starts somewhere in the middle of September – a South African friend of mine who lives here was shaking her head. “I was in my favorite grocery store today,” she said, “and I saw pumpkin bread mix, pumpkin toaster pastries, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin Greek yogurt, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, pumpkin body butter, pumpkin flavored dog treats, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin bar baking mix, pumpkin ale, pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin spice chai, pumpkin spice rooibos (that should be illegal), pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin pancake mix. So what is this obsession with pumpkin here in the USA?” Quite right. Whatever the season, we seem to be obsessed with something. If no major holiday is available, we create a minor one to fill in. That, I think, is the only explanation for Valentine’s Day. To fill the drought between Christmas and Easter. And, I think, just to annoy us parents who are finally, finally, breathing a big sigh of relief because by mid-February all the Halloween candy is gone from the pantry, just to see the empty spot immediately usurped by another almost identical trove of carefully labeled goody bags, just changed in hue from orange and rusty colors to pinks and reds.

In fact, I think I may have given my kids leftover Halloween candy to stick onto their Valentine’s cards. Please don’t judge me too harshly.

Maybe this truly scary pumpkin is enough to cure you of any pumpkin flavored cravings
you might have harbored this harvest season?

The object of our obsession is not really pumpkins. Nor is it holidays in general or even decorating, though I do have to say an urge to decorate ... 

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