So SHORTER came out a week ago, and it hasn’t exactly been the greatest week for new books! My reading at Books Inc in Mountain View went forward as planned on the 10th, but we went back and forth about whether to have it at all. Ultimately, though, I decided to do it, and even got some footage of myself reading from the opening chapter.
A reading scheduled for this week at the Book Passage in San Francisco, of course, got cancelled as part of the shelter in place regulations– I suppose that book readings aren’t considered essential activities. And almost NOTHING else is being scheduled: conferences are all getting cancelled, of course, and even radio appearances are getting disrupted as lots of stations are having to figure out how to do the equivalent of work from home.
Of course, it’s not just me. The New York Times had a piece today about gallery closings, debuts being but off, book launches thrown awry. Artist Mamie Tinkler talked about her gallery show getting downsized:
I’ve done a lot of processing…. It’s been a combination of mourning the culmination of months of work and also reeling over the scope and unknowability of this problem. In a moment like this you’re like, how do I think about the collective good and still say I really want this work to matter and be seen and have a life in the world?
And I absolutely empathize with Los Angeles author Katie Orphan:
I went from having the greatest accomplishment of my life to everything I have planned is gone. I’m fortunate I have a book that should be evergreen, but so many need those boosts before being buried by the next wave of books. It’s terrifying. Who knows what April will be like?
SHORTER likewise isn’t a book with a short shelf life, and I wrote it to support my own future work and other people’s efforts to implement a 4-day week; and I don’t think those efforts are going to be slowed down by COVID-19. Indeed, the one hopeful thing I see in all this disruption is that the crisis has shown us how we can bend the curves, break open what usually seem like black boxes in how we work, and do things differently.
But fortunately the podcasts continue. Today Bodyshot Performance (a London fitness company led by the fantastic Leanne Spencer) published its interview with me, and I know more are to come. So that’s a bright spot!