Whenever we go out shopping, my fiancée tends to laugh at me. I have this habit of finding one of two things in any store. Books and free stuff. Even in a home decorating store like West Elm, I’ll pick up the books being used as display items and flip through them. Yes, I’ll even pick up books whose sole reason for existence is to take up space (artfully arranged space, but still). What can I say? I appreciate curtains, but on the whole, I like reading more. I also like discounts.
No so long ago, while walking through Harvard Square, I spotted an odd stack of cardboard boxes labelled “free.” Interested yet leery, I approached slowly. Definitely intrigued, predictably self-conscious, and oddly suspicious of malfeasance, I gradually arrived at the boxes of freebies.
And I was sincerely excited that I did so.
Wrapped up in plastic cellophane, there were stacked before me hundreds of promotional releases of The Hope We Seek by Rich Shapero and an accompanying CD, Songs from the Big Wheel by Rich Shapero with Marissa Nadler. All of a sudden, Robert DeNiro’s voice from Silver Linings Playbook was in my head telling me that it’s a sin to not take these opportunities when life reaches out with them. Er... wrong context.
And then, I had a real epiphany. Maybe it's not the wrong context. I mean, this is a promotional release, right? What if I blogged about it? What if I reviewed it? What if my review launched me into the stratosphere of online Beantown bloggers? What if I started receiving more promotional materials? What if I got an advance copy of Stephen King’s next book? I write about Maine a lot! It could happen!
What if I start getting invited to Red Sox games? What if they want me to do more Mustachioed Monuments of Fenway Park? What if I throw out the first pitch? What if I mess it up?
What if the Improper Bostonian calls? What if the Boston Globe calls? What if they get in a bidding war on a weekly piece called “Don’t Look Down, Beantown”? What if I write for both of them?
What if I just took this awesome freebie at face value?
At this point, I had been standing there long enough for the people at Au Bon Pain to start noticing, and for me to start stress sweating.
But crashing back down to reality wasn’t so bad, really, because I was plus my free book. I’ll review it for you when I can, but - fair warning - I already have maybe ten unread books in my possession, so it could be awhile.
Til next time!