Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On Not Taking It For Granted

Hiya. Yes, the weekend at Big Sur was awesome. Great camping, lovely weather, ocean and river swimming, hiking, the pleasure of my family's company... Good stuff. I would bombard you with photos, but I haven't quite slipped this into being a personal blog that way, so I won't inflict them on you. Perhaps in the future, when we're doing really interesting stuff, then I'll detail it here...

Right now, though, I want to mention something that happened when I got home from the trip. There was a box waiting for me. Inside it: the paperback version of Annibale, the Italian edition of Pride of Carthage. I opened it, plucked one out, looked at it for about four seconds, and then waved it at my wife as she passed by bringing in gear from the car. She said something like, "Cool" (with a Scottish accent, mind you, so it sounds... um... especially cool). And that was it. I shoved the box to the side and went out to help unload.

It was only later - when I noticed the dejected box of books on the floor in my office - that it occurred to me that it remains a special thing to get a new edition of published book. Why was I being so blase about it? It's another book! It's another example of a collective effort to get my words to readers. It's my work, and the work of translators, editors, publishers, designers and publicists, etc, most of whom live in that lovely Mediterranean country. It's kinda huge, really. If I'd never had another book published I'd be overjoyed at the arrival of this one, with it's dark cover and massive elephant. And since that's true it should also be true that I take a moment and enjoy and be thankful for this one.

So that's what I'm doing here. I'm not taking such things for granted. I'm taking a moment to be pleased. It won't be a long moment, because I've got work to do. I've got another novel to finish. There's stuff pulling on me that won't let me bask in any sense of achievement for too long. That's as it should be. It's humbling. But it also feels important to respect each success - if not for myself then for the other people that were kind enough to share it with me.

So thank you, Piemme! Thank you Italian readers that made the hardback a success. Thank you to the new readers that I hope will pick this version of the book up. Thank you for accepting my fictional take on your history.

And thanks for getting my son interested in reading Italian...

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Blogger Meghan said...

Sounds like you had a great time doing all sorts of out-of-doors activities. Very nice!

I'm glad you took a moment to really be pleased about another translation of your book. You should absolutely be proud of yourself!

6:54 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks, Meghan. Whenever I think about it, I am very pleased with this one. A major Italian publisher didn't have to buy a young African-American author's novel about their own history. I'm very pleased that they did, and that they decided on a separate contract for this paperback version after they'd published the hardback. So they knew exactly how the first book had performed and still wanted to stick with me. They'll be publishing Acacia also, so, yeah, I'm siked!

1:11 PM  

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