In a recent blog post, “Human,” Shane Jones writes:
Anytime I read something positive about my book I get a very short (maybe like 30 second happy feeling) and then it’s gone and I don’t remember it really. When I read something negative, or get a negative email from someone, it lasts much longer, and I remember it. It stays with me. When I google myself I feel empty. But I do it. It’s part ego, being selfish, and placing importance in what others think – something authors can’t control. Now if I read a book for an hour, I feel good. I feel great. If I write 500 words, I feel great. I’m just talking this out now. When I’m on twitter and facebook and reading HTMLGIANT, I never feel good. But I’m still doing it. The need for someone to say “Light Boxes is a good book” is there, but the danger is that someone says “Light Boxes is a hack work by a dick” is also there, and one has a tiny pay-off and the other is extremely damaging.
This honesty is something I’ve always appreciated about Shane. Well, that’s not exactly true. The first thing I appreciated about Shane, the very first thing, was this little piece in the online journal Pindeldyboz: “The Tiny Sheriff.” Famous sculptors, sparrows, exile in the woods, metafiction, and a tiny sheriff whose “legs were bicycling through the air. He wore black boots with spurs and smoked a cigarette. He moved like a storm cloud. The tiny sheriff carved a wooden door into your stomach with his spurs.” This was my introduction to Shane Jones, and I was smitten.
At that time, I had just started Willows Wept Review, a nature writing journal. But I didn’t want to be like any other nature writing journal: I wanted WWR to revalue the definition of nature writing by including under its umbrella works of magical realism (a more detailed proposal is in this essay: “Revaluing Nature Writing: Toward Love and Flower Power“). Finding a writer like Shane was a sort of miracle. His work alone was a cause for celebration, but then I Googled him and found his old blog, “I THINK YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON.” It became apparent that he really, truly believed that all of us are good people. And I came to understand how Shane himself is a good person. You must remember, I’m sure, how “I THINK YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON” later became “INDIE LIT IS AWESOME!!!” Who else remembers that bright yellow the way I do? Yeah.
Well, I also remember how kind Shane was to help me out by contributing to that inaugural WWR with the pieces, “What I Do To Entertain Myself” and “The Axe in the Sky.”I remember how Shane didn’t know me from the next random person with a computer but he was kind and his blog posts were touching.
Which brings me to this:
I am very happy to be able to help him celebrate the re-release of his first novel, Light Boxes. Congratulations, Shane, from me and the rest of the Big Other gang. :)
Light Boxes is coming to a bookstore near you on May 25, 2010. Preorder yours from Powell’s, the “largest independent used and new bookstore in the world.”