This advice was innocent enough, in a smarmy and ominously-prescient sort of way when the “the graduate” got this insider tip so many decades ago. It was certainly the way the world of profit and growth were going, even then, on our way to a shrink-wrapped future.
And woe to us, the tsunami of plastic has continued unabated ever since. From where you sit to read this, how many seconds does it take for you to find five objects made partly or entirely of plastic?
And now we have reaped the whirlwind of hormonal and other poorly-considered health issues from the biochemical to the biosphere level, as a consequence of so many Benjamins grabbing for the golden ring of plastics-for-profit.
It has been a wonderful-terrible answer to our problems of packaging and fabricating the temporary conveniences of our lives the last half of the last century. But by the middle of the present century, we must have broken our plastics addiction, for a vast number of reasons.
So now we can’t hope for a carbon-free future if it is not also plastics-free. We are overdue to find a replacement, while dedicating all manufacturing to “redesign plastics without harmful pollutants, reform regulation to account for low doses that may have harm, and recharge health advocates.”
If you have questions about what impact plastics are having on human and marine and any-other-biology or about what alternatives are currently being researched to help us break our plastics habit, you’re in luck.
I looked up from the kitchen window about 10 minutes before we were to depart for a hike and pot-luck across the county.
WhatDaWhat! There not thirty feet away was a cluster of bittersweet (you never find just ONE Oriental Bittersweet vine because hundreds of seeds have fallen from the plant the year before, and many new sprouts also strangle the host tree and twine around others of their kind as well.
I reached for the loppers, since cutting the sapling at the base was the only remedy. And yet, this is no remedy.
I drug the whole mess down to my truck, and there it will stay until our next bonfire Weiner roast. To discard it in any other manner only spreads Medusa’s head in other seas.
And so what if one small group of vines does not drop seed this year? The cut vines still remain–to big to pull out of the ground. And within a hundred yards are a hundred other vines, climbing up the white pines in the powerline right-of-way.
I know this. And yet to do nothing with invasives coming right to the edge of the yard and in my face was a challenge I could not ignore.
And yet, in a hundred years, the flora of this place will be dominated by plant species from other continents. And maybe people born then will accept Stilt Grass, Multiflora Rose, and Oriental Bittersweet and admire them for their positive qualities, not knowing what would have grown in those places during their great great grandparent’s age.
And maybe 75 stories, essays and sylvan ramblings does not make a book. That is the judgment, I think, in the minds and profit-making needs of perhaps most publishers of books.
They are used to (and see their readers as being willing to pay for) books where Part A leads to Part B leads to…and there is a kind of start to finish nature to the book. That is not so for my existing books nor for the one I kind of hope to be published.
Several publishers I’ve gotten initially excited about “publish titles related to the practicalities, politics and processes of sustainability.” My book is neither fish nor fowl in this menu.
But the non-sequential reader format has actually been kind of a strong point for Slow Road and What We Hold, and many readers have told me that they like the fact that the book can be picked up and opened to any page to read that one short piece (they will be a bit longer in book #3).
On the other hand, you would not be completely able to read the future book backwards, since there is some memoirist material that starts with Finding Floyd, and then has several installments interspersed throughout.
The other possible deal killer is that the book does not fall into a clear subgenre of narrative non-fiction. Slow Road Home was shelved as a “travel book” because it was “about place.” And so finding “‘comparable titles” in a book proposal is made more difficult.
I won’t bore you with other grumblings as question the time and effort of find a “real” publisher and reconsider self-publication one final time. Much has changed in that field since 2009 when What We Hold In Our Hands was delivered off the truck from Edwards Brothers.
Meanwhile, some seeds are being disbursed at least. I did have one bit of the new book reach reader-eyes, including yours, if you wish, in a lit-mag called The Write Launch.