Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

column: Reading Potato Books to Your Pink Flamingo


I recently learned that September is a month dedicated to reading. I’m not sure why this is. You’d think reading months would be the dead of winter, when it’s too cold to do anything but curl up on the couch under a mound of blankets, pour hot chocolate over your head, and whimper about the weather. Or maybe that’s just me.
Or you could read, which seems a bit more constructive.
But they didn’t ask me, and in fact they didn’t even tell me who “they” is; so September has become both Adult Literacy Month and Read a New Book Month, which certainly do seem to go together. I don’t need to explain those, do I? If you don’t already know how to read, you’re probably not listening to me right now, anyway. 

  September is also, according to the mysterious Them, Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. Also related. As it happens, I’m a writer (thus this writing), and so I approve of Their decision. Since my fictional works have now been officially bought by editors, I also approve of editors. Also, this column goes through an editor on the way to the bottom of your bird cage, and although she doesn’t usually mess with me even when I go off on tangents, she could; so it’s pretty much a given that I approve of her, too.
Anytime I get a little full of myself, I remember that this column was originally intended as a filler, for use if there wasn’t a lot of other stuff going on around Albion, Churubusco, and Huntertown. Honestly, I’m a little surprised I don’t get cut more often during high school sports season. For me, sports and getting cut go hand in hand.

Where was I? Oh, yeah: So September is a month in which adults should read a writer’s new edited book, which makes me proud.

We writers shouldn’t let this go to our heads: It’s also Pink Flamingo Month, National Potato Month, and Save the Tiger Month. So They say. Therefore, I’m going to start writing a new children’s book about a Tiger who gives up his Pink Flamingo diet and becomes a vegetarian devoted to potatoes. It’s working title: Potato Tiger Picks Pink Feathers From His Teeth.

That title … it’s a work in progress.

The problem is that I learned this information late, and due to the lead time of deadlines (totally my editor’s fault) you might not read this until the end of September. I recommend re-celebrating Read An Edited Writer’s Adult Literacy Month in October. Why not? It’ll be colder then anyway, and for those who’ve already read one book, this will be your chance to read two.

I recommend my book. Still available. In fact, I constantly carry around a backpack full of Storm Chaser copies, going door to door like a literary Jehovah’s Witness, only without the snappy tie.

Oh, okay – read whatever book you like, but please read one. I don’t really get why I even have to ask people to read. I never have understood why people wouldn’t want to spend all their time reading, with the possible exception of Hugh Hefner. And let’s face it, reading is way cheaper than sex, especially when you factor in certain prescriptions for someone Hugh’s age. Not to mention alimony.

The irony is that I haven’t had much time in recent years to read; I’ve been too busy writing. I have stacks of books around the house towering over my head, ready to bury me in the most ironic death scene ever, and I’m not talking about just my own product. But by the time I’ve worked my full time and part time jobs and then my second full time job of trying to get a fiction writing career going, I run out of time for my favorite relaxation activity. (I’m talking about reading – get your mind out of the gutter.) Worse, several of my writer friends have reviewed Storm Chaser (Eight five star reviews on! Yay!), and I haven’t had a chance to return the favor with their works.

So I’ve dedicated myself, starting in October (September’s kind of shot) to reading one new book every month, in addition to catching up on my magazine reading. (No, not one of Hef’s magazines … mind. Out of gutter. Now.) Frankly, I need the relaxation, and I’m starting with a book my fiancée got for her literature class: Strong Poison, a 1930 mystery starring some guy named Lord Peter Wimsey.

Well, it’s new to me. And more to the point, it happened to be on the coffee table when I learned this was Read a New Potato Novel to a Pink Editor Month.

It’s shameful, really. I used to go to the Noble County Public Library and load up on the limit of books I could check out – every week – but that’s just another example of how grown up life gets us down. One book I can manage, these days. I challenge everyone else to do the same, and although I’d prefer it be mine, make it something you enjoy, something fun. Stay away from Moby Dick, unless you’re a fishing fan.

Read to your pink flamingo, or read while feeding a potato to your tiger, or your editor, or whatever – but read. Let’s make this world literate again, in the way it was back when reading was fun instead of a chore.

Oh, and be kind to the writers; maybe with a review, or a cup of hot chocolate. And be kind to editors, too … if they buy my stuff.

Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark, writing

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