For someone who embraces the latest and greatest technology, I sometimes resent how it has caused real printed books and real bookstores to be progressively obsolete.
I was watching a movie the other day where two people meet in a bookstore. They’re both browsing the aisles and run into each other in Personal Growth. The next thing you know, they’re married. This really happens. At least it’s one of my fantasies.
I love walking into a bookstore completely clueless about what I want to read. I can wander from the New Releases table to the Fiction section, over to Nonfiction, and finally to Mysteries. I might not buy anything, but I’ve just spent an hour or two cushioned by paper.
I often have animated conversations with my dog. She’s a very accepting audience, and it clears my head to talk out loud to someone other than myself.
The longer I live and work alone, the more double-sided these solo conversations become. It’s sort of like playing with a marionette. I ask the questions and I provide the answers. It can go something like this:
(Me to my dog) “Didn’t I just buy you a bag of dog food? Where did it all go?”
(My dog to me) “Guess we should get the bigger bag next time, it’ll last longer.”
(Me to her) “Oops, we’re almost out of biscuits, too. You’re going to have to get a job to pay for all of this.”
(Her to me) “At least one of us should be working.”
I wanted to be a writer all my life, but with a college degree in creative writing, it wasn’t easy to find a job or a career. I knew it was wishful thinking to believe I might someday become a successful novelist or poet.
My career as a book editor
I searched around for any job that had something to do with writing. Luckily, I got a break, and I was hired as an assistant editor for a book publishing company in Los Angeles. Aside from answering phones and typing up author and agent correspondence, I reviewed the unsolicited manuscripts and made publishing recommendations based on character and plot development. I seemed to have a knack for editing–I had found my career.
After a year, I made the move to New York. All the major publishing houses were there and it wasn’t hard to find a position as a book editor. The only problem was that I hated living in New York. On an assistant editor’s salary, the city was a struggle. So I moved back to Los Angeles and found one of the only book publishing companies around there. Once hired, I worked with famed authors and budding novelists. But soon the company cut back its business and most of us lost our jobs.