S is for Surprise


Number 19 in The A to Z of the Writer’s Affliction, part of the A to Z blogging challenge.

‘It’s a glittering diamond. A four-leafed clover. An oasis in the desert.’

‘So it’s rare,’ I said, ‘but nice. That’s what you’re saying? A nice surprise.’

The normally ebullient Arnold Pogostik, author of The Incredibly Cruel Creepy-Crawly That Kidnapped Kate, was in a glum frame of mind. ‘Maybe it’s because it’s rare that it’s nice. But you know what? I’d rather not be in the desert at all.’ Arching his eyebrows, he added casually, ‘How are yours going by the way?’

‘Well, I’m having no trouble counting them,’ I said. ‘Just moved on to the toes of my right foot.’

‘Consider yourself lucky. I’m still on the fingers of my left hand,’ said Arnold.

S is for (nice) surprise. S is for sale of a book.

‘The way I choose to look at it,’ I said, ‘every reader is precious. And in a way, it doesn’t matter whose book it is they’re reading. The activity itself is precious.’

Arnold was unimpressed. ‘You sound like a vicar. Though it’s our fault, I suppose,’ he went on, ‘for producing stuff that nobody needs.’

‘Sure, people need books. Look at us. Could we live without books? And think of all the others like us. How many books do they read in a lifetime?’

For a moment he was silent. From his frown of concentration, it was clear he was thinking hard. Then his face brightened. ‘10,092.’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘The number of books on Amazon divided by the number of readers in the world multiplied by the number of books they read in a lifetime. Yay!’ He punched the air in triumph. ‘Now all I’ve got to do is go and find them.’

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  1. Good thoughts, Curtis. Yeah, it’s no ‘field of dreams’ for today’s author; that is, no ‘if you build/make it, they will come’ [and read it]. Authors today have to be an all-in-one, jack- or jill-of-all-trades. No use fighting that, I suppose!

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