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At 57, I self-published my first novel, i. According to conventional wisdom, it is much delayed. No one cares about whether I am published or not, not the universe, not even you, for you want your own book published. The world’s axis is oiled with indifference to the writer-to one another, alas. And to write anything of substance is a remarkable act of will, much in defiance of death. It is a puzzling self-commitment. And it is a cosmic shout throughout the human dominion that one exists, puny creature that you are.

So, let us put self-publishing into perspective: a self-contained universe, our human mind or the human spirit, communicated to the world: “Look! Listen! I have this to say.” To publish is to declare that one needs to be recognized, noted-“Attention must be paid.”

What prompted me to invest in self-publishing my own book is a knotted skein; of not having my books accepted over the years; of only recently, by chance, by luck, garnering surplus capital to make an investment in myself; of mourning the death of a friend, reminding me that the obverse side of carpe diem is tempus fugit.

I cannot clearly say why I sought out to self-publish. Life’s choices are nettles. You try to avoid them on a country lane and return home bristling with them. I nudged life just a bit.

Publishing my own book is more than a late middle-aged huberistic binge, much more than becoming a control freak over one’s own creative specie. Or even a need to conglomeratize my art.

Melville, I read, spent time in Egypt a century ago. And he wrote as he saw the monumental statuary of that culture that he understood Moses’s Egyptian roots-he was an Egyptian prince. And how all that devolved into the giving of the law of Sinai. And since I have an affinity for the pyramids for my ancestors had a hand in them, why I write is as old as any pharaonic need to have one’s burial “accessorized”-cufflinks for Isis, please-so that in the next life all will be ordered.

I self-publish to announce I am here, for I will soon be gone. Let me determine that my words be shaped, spent, and structured as I see fit; however, I revel in the book of life, not the book of death.

I am not adverse to hawking my books. Fun, a little stressful, and quaintly capitalistic, it is the peculiar currency for getting people to read what one has to say.

I self-publish not consumed by vanity-but by time; not by the buck, but by dint of will; not by tin-like values but through sterling struggle.

Because I need to explain myself as I sojourn, I write not to entertain (sssh!). I write not to sell, convince, or massage, much less condition. I write for the only audience that counts and that is me. Walden Pond is in my metaphoric noodle. I self-publish only to make me available to you in that disposable we call a book.

With faith in who I am, with faith that a few out there are in a cabal with me, do we need more as writers? To self-publish is to exercise a distinct and definite say in how you live out your life-to stave off death, to wit. The rest is merely American.

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