Mini Me: Reflections on my remaindered Seeing Past Z

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This past week I've heard from three dear souls about a book I once wrote called Seeing Past Z: Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World. It was a memoir, my fourth. It was an argument for giving children room to breathe, a story about the imagination and about the young peoples' writing workshops I conducted in my home.  Seeing Past Z was a story about the kids I met, the stories we read, the things the kids wrote while I was near. It was me loving out loud, like I do.

I published Seeing Past Z in 2004 at the height of the competitive parenting era, when children's dreams were often proscribed, their futures chosen, their schedules packed, their resumes shined. Honoring the unquantifiable imagination, talking about the sweetness of community over the attainment of blue ribbons, was probably foolhardy in the midst of all that, but a few years later, the tide had turned. Slow parenting was gaining force. Character was again in vogue. A recession hit and many of those who had been primed for greatness faced unanticipated woes.

By that point, Seeing Past Z had been remaindered. I'd received my two boxes full of unsold books and paid the shipping price. I'd been sent the sad sales figures.  It was almost as if the book hadn't happened, though I am reminded, every now and then, that it did. Once by a young woman who had found a copy in her Singapore library and wrote to tell me about it. Several times by neighbors passing by, sometimes by teachers, sometimes (thank you) by bloggers.

But last week was unusual—an odd confluence of notes and conversations about a book I'd always quietly believed in. These are the valued surprises in a writer's life. These are notes we value more than readers can imagine.


patti.mallett_pp said...

AND I THINK YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, THAT BOOK. KIDS WILL ALWAYS NEED ROOM TO BREATHE, NOW MORE THAN EVER!! If people heed my words, and I'm continually mentioning that book, it'll be up for Reprint somewhere down the road.

At any rate, BE VERY PROUD. You will never know how many lives have been and will be changed, quietly perhaps, one person at a time, by your words. (What more can any author hope for?)

Joan said...

I'm going to see if I can look up a copy of this one to read now. It sounds lovely!

Lilian Nattel said...

There was an article in the paper, today, about the rediscovery of play as important. There was a day in Toronto to highlight the value of play and 3000 people came. I found it funny, really, that it was so organized!

Melissa said...

It is still on my shelves, a Christmas gift of a year ago, waiting for just the right time to be read.

Melissa said...

It is still on my shelves, a Christmas gift of a year ago, waiting for just the right time to be read.

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