There has been criticism in some media and social media quarters over the avalanche of U.S. media reporting on the November 13 Paris massacres. Pointed to especially has been the comparatively far lesser coverage of the November 12 Beirut suicide blasts, in which over 40 were killed. The disparity between the two has prompted accusations that Americans simply don’t care nearly as much about mayhem in Beirut as they do about mayhem in Paris:
I’m not going to try to defend a difference in newspaper column inches and cable TV air time between the two horrors. Rather I will attempt briefly to address what is probably the basis for it. A personal experience came to my mind.
Late on Thursday, I had driven my father and sister back to his Pennsylvania house (a 2 and 1/2 hour trip). Yesterday I came back here to the Catskills. I have been so stressed out in the last month over the death of my uncle and especially my mother, I wanted to be alone here in my own house for a few days…. and listen to music, watch the occasional deer, and stare at the scenery:
But that didn’t mean I’d cut myself off completely. Last night, I was chatting with a cousin on the phone. We were discussing my mother and my uncle, and their deaths, and remembering family, such as our grandparents.
Suddenly my wife messaged me – from ENGLAND – asking had I seen what was happening in Paris?
That post I wrote yesterday about that cover of that, errr, “erotica” novella having created a logo dispute with the Chicago Teachers Union, encouraged me to take time afterward in the day to finish off the Distances cover “officially.”
We’ve all bought books. We know it’s usually the first “contact” we have with one. The cover can be the difference between attracting us to the book…. or not.
As a writer, you could be the next “big thing,” but if the cover’s lousy quite a few people who are put off by it will never learn that. When you indie publish, the decision falls to you. When I was considering what to do for a cover for Passports back in 2013, new to all this, I had searched through hordes of “stock photo” possibilities, including human models. Frankly, most of what I saw was dreadful stuff that made me groan.
Over the last few days, as planned, I’ve spent hours proofreading and tidying up Distances. Headphones in, listening to it as I read along, it is remarkable how hearing your written words helps you focus while you proof. It does make it easier to spot not only the likes of accidentally omitted words and typos, but I find it better reveals the overall flow and “readability” and if there are any problems with them.
One of my proofreaders, who had before their publications critiqued both Passports and Frontiers, was also on the phone yesterday.
The finish is no longer somewhere off in the, uh, nebulous “distance.” It’s done. The draft Distances manuscript is finished:
And, whew, in a way I am about finished now, too. I crossed the finish line yesterday afternoon. After I did, I sat for a few moments staring at the computer screen in semi-disbelief.
What remains now is the final proofing for spelling, grammar, and any other errors. Doing that will take a month or so: it’s nearly 93,000 words. I already found a few mistakes in rereading part of it last night.
As I wanted it to be, Distances is similar in scope to Passports and Frontiers. Based on how long those each took me, I’m actually over a month ahead of where I had expected to be with Distances about now. I’m not quite sure how I managed to so outpace my planned “timeframe.”
While cat sitting for friends last month, I’d noticed this coaster on their dining room table. I photographed it because, being a man, I’m not entirely sure how to take this:
And it made me chuckle. We saw them again last night; they have just moved house temporarily until they move permanently to Cambridge in August. So we got to see their “interim” place in Bath, and she had that coaster on their dining room table once more.
Passports is FREE on Kindle until July 15. Today being July 14 is the major reason. It’s to commemorate a personal anniversary. (Not the two decades that have passed!) Twenty years ago today, I was here:
Before digital, iPhones, iPads…. and selfies (in those days *OTHER PEOPLE* took your picture!), with my 35mm camera (that used FILM you needed to have developed in a shop! Yes, really! Ancient history!), I snapped these pictures.