Have you read a book lately? Do you feel guilty that you haven’t? Or do you feel quilty that you have only read one? or two?
If you are like me, and millions of others like me – and you – the last month or so have been spent in Home Office. You might be feeling guilty that you aren’t using the time saved normally spent commuting to its full potential. All these free online courses now available. We could learn another language. We could bake bread each morning. So much we aren’t doing to feel guilty about.
During the current Corona Crisis that guilt has possibly also been added to by the hectic daily schedule of homeschooling our kids, negotiating new avenues within the close quarters of our realtionships, and wondering if we shouldn’t really DO something with this “down time” we hear so much about.
If you are like me, you also work in Digital – websites, online marketing, coding – we wouldn’t dare create in print because it is mostly beyond us. I cook instead of baking – if you screw up a loaf of bread it is difficult to hide – but if you mess up a dish in the skillet you can probably pass it off as something other than you had planned. I have the greatest respect for my Print colleagues. Once they produce something it is DONE. If I make an error on a website, I can correct it on the train simply by logging into the server. Anything as … permanent … as a book or a poster must be important.
How We Spend Our Time
We are, many of us, already dealing with an Imposter Syndrome, and the latest Crisis has made it even worse. As I wrote last month, being at home should be a relaxing time. A time to unwind. It is a necessity to have some place where we can retreat. Now as we have to work – and study, and teach, and cook, and eat, and entertain – at home, the Imposter Syndrom has followed us there – and it is not easy to escape it. “Are we using our time wisely? Could we do more? Are we relaxing too much or not enough? What do we wear for our online meetings? Are our children studying enough? too much? Should we help them more? Are we making too much fresh pasta? or not enough?
Some of us are able to work from home, some of us cannot. Some of us are binge watching Netflix, others are learning a new language, or logging in to some of the thousands of online courses now available either free or at cut-rate prices. Not wanting to seem a slacker, I thought this would be a good time to dust off my novel – The University Club A Campus Affair – and finally publish it. It is available on amazon.de, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, amazon.co.uk … I hope you enjoy it!
Books are Important
Even though books have not been classified a necessity during the Crisis (while wine and chocolate have), we have probably read a great deal more in the last four to six weeks than we had done previously. There is something wonderful about picking up an actual book and turning the pages that transcends the eBook. Often small trinkets will fall from the pages as we read – a bookmark, train ticket, a dollar bill, a love note – something that reminds us of better times. Opening a bottle of wine can have the same effect on us. Alhough wine is a less accomodating medium in which to store keepsakes, opening a bottle will remind us of places and meals, people and events, much like a book will.
As Ray Bradbury put it in Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian novel about a society that burned and banned literature, “Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/the-case-for-books-as-essential-in-a-time-of-pandemic/
Why I wrote a Book
I began The University Club A Campus Affair in the late 1980’s while in London Ontario. I had just discovered the internet, but the days of building websites were still some time away. In the meantime, I was apprenticing as a chef, and having some amazing adventures with some extraordinary people. I have always enjoyed the Campus Novel more than any other genre, but had not encountered a gastronomic version. I set out to correct that oversight.
This book was first written on a baby Apple Macintosh Classic with a tiny green screen. It was saved onto a 1.44 MB disc, went through various generations of PCs and laptops, and finally sat on an external hard drive, untouched, since 2010. It has had a decade to ripen before this month being edited 22 times, and finally published.
Will You Like this Book?
I certainly hope so. Though, this is much the same non-question you would never ask yourself if you were building a house or having a child – you never really worry if people will like it or not. It is your creation, and you went through the process for your own reasons. Catharsis, Love, Debt, Lust, Fear … why do we do what we do?
If you like romantic comedy, then you will enjoy this book.
If you like to cook, there is a recipe in the back, cooking trivia, and many kitchen scenes.
If you like academia, the story is set mostly on campus – and has notes referenced throughout and explained in the back.
If you are gender fluid, or support diversity, I purposely left the gender of the main character open to appeal to a broad audience so you can identify with them as you please.
If you like crime, there are a many moments here you might enjoy.
If you are curious about what I spend my time doing when most people sleep, then your curiosity will be sated and that may make you happy.
If you enjoyed my first book, the broschured Art in Chocolate, you will recognize certain vignettes and characters, here played out to fruition.
If you are like me, and share my interest of non-fiction-fiction, there is even a crossover into reality – one of the characters actually does have a blog and an instagram account.
I believe there is something here for everyone. Enjoy!