iUniverse author Douglas Gardham (The Actor, The Drive In) talks about signing his 2000th book. Congratulations, Douglas!
Is anything what it seems?
Two weekends ago, I passed a milestone 2000th book at a book signing. For something I had no intention of doing its turned out to be a complete reversal of what I thought it would be. If someone had asked when The Actor first came out whether I would do book signings, my answer would have been an emphatic “no”. Now I can’t imagine missing out on such a life experience in this new author world.
Things really are not what they seem. It’s truer than I thought even as a theme in my first published novel The Actor. Its odd how art that is supposed to imitate life seems to be the reverse so often. There’s a particular passage in The Actor where a teacher tells the protagonist that she’s disappointed that he’s pursuing science over the arts “science always wins”. To us emotional beings, art—an expression of our emotions—is what makes life so full of wonder and worth living despite our dispositions to prove otherwise. Art is why we do so many things. It brings to mind a quote often ascribed to Winston Churchill from the Second World War when his finance minister proposed that funding for the arts be cut in support of the war effort. Mr. Churchill is said to have replied “Then what are we fighting for?”
So I thought I’d address one of the many questions I’m asked at the signings that I feared and never thought I’d do. Is anything quite what it seems?
How’d you get here? asks a smiling young man having just graduated college.
If I exclude the fact that writing found me at an early age, that I’ve spent most of my working career in the engineering and manufacturing sector while writing on the side, that I’ve had as many rejections as there are pages in The Actor, and have written nearly every day for over twenty years; then here’s what I’ll tell you:
About five years ago, we were driving our daughter to the west coast of Canada to go to school. It was during the trip I realized that after all my years of writing, I didn’t have a keepsake for my family. I had lots of rejections, as I mentioned, and lots of 8-1/2”x 11” pieces of paper—but not a book. Believe it or not, it was during that trip I found iUniverse, who eventually would accept my manuscript as a potential Editor’s Choice selection.
At the time, I remember thinking the book would be one of the gifts under the Christmas tree that year. But after eighteen months of late nights and early mornings and rewrite after rewrite The Actor was finally complete. A lengthy ordeal considering The Actor was originally written after seeing the Titanic movie in 1998. On the night I finished—truly “ready-to-ship” finished—I recall distinctly the feeling of having something special in my hands. I’m honored to say The Actor was awarded Editor’s Choice and also the Rising Star and STARBook designations. I’ll add that in addition to transforming the story, I transformed my life.
Writing is now what I get to do and on weekends I get to meet constant readers and books lovers at signings in bookstores all over. Things may not be what they seem, but it sure is fun finding out.