All the Names (April 30, 2013)

Last week, I did a repetitive, mundane thing. I printed postage labels for each of my Kickstarter backers to send them their copies of Don't Go Back to School.

Except it wasn't mundane at all. I printed postage labels for around 900 people who were about to become my readers. I saw their names, wonderfully colorful and wonderfully common. I saw the names of their towns and cities, wonderfully colorful and wonderfully familiar. Nine hundred real people, every single one of whom knows how to reach me and tell me what they think about the book.

Writers don't get this, under ordinary circumstances. Readers remain abstract and mysterious unless they come to your readings. Writing is terribly, terribly lonely, any writer will tell you this. All those names made it less so.

Writers don't print their own postage labels either, under ordinary circumstances. I'm not trying to tell you it's fun, it's not. But it's also a task I hope every writer will have a chance to do sometime in their careers. It represents a newly-possible relationship between writers and readers. We're all real people here.