2/13/2015

Round & Holy: The FAQ


As a prospective buyer of Round and Holy: An Homage to Donuts, I am sure that you have important questions about the book that you'd like answers to before spending the entire $4.95 that it would take to own a copy.

I can't answer those questions, but here are some other, completely different questions, along with adequate answers. Maybe they'll help.


Q: Why did you write a poetry book? What about another programming book? Or humor book?

A: Please constrain yourself to one question at a time. This format completely breaks down if everyone's shouting multi-part questions at me at the same time. This is an FAQ, not a presidential press conference. Nevertheless, I will, just this once, answer this question with a multi-part answer:

A1: Why poetry? Because I want to do the best I can at every endeavor. When it's was clear that I was being successful at writing humor books that don't sell many copies, I realized that I had to go further, and be better than I had before. If I'm going to publish books that don't sell well, I should publish a thin volume of poetry, because that kind of book doesn't sell better than every other kind of book. I fully expect to not sell many copies of this book and, in so doing, it will be my most successful humor book yet.

A2: Because programming books take a lot of effort. Seriously. You lose like six months of weekends and evenings, and editing the book is slightly less pleasurable than gouging out your eyes with a salty oyster fork. Poetry, on the other hand, is fun to write.

A3: This is a humor book. It's just a lot shorter. And it rhymes.


Q: Why donuts?

A: Er, uh, um, ... because donuts. Obviously.


Q: What's your favorite kind of donut?

A: The one that's in front of me.


Q: Why is the book so short?

A: Great question, thanks for asking! There are a couple of answers to this one:

a) Because it's a poetry book. Have you heard the term "slim volume of poetry"? Of course you have, especially if you read my answers above. But have you ever heard the term "monstrously long volume of poetry"? Of course not. Nobody wants a huge volume of poetry; it will just sit there on your end-table, weighing it down and making you feel guilty for never picking it up and actually reading it. What we really want from a poetry book is something like that we can pick up, enjoy, and put down again easily. And it can double as a drink coaster. This is another book in this classic tradition; it has just the right amount of poems in it for a poetry book.

b) Because donuts. Whenever you have donuts, you think you're going to want a lot of them. You plow through the first one without even noticing it. Then you take on a second and really enjoy it. Then somewhere in the middle of the third donut, you realize you've probably had enough. You might, in some critical situations (like, for example, you wanted to) go for four donuts. But you'll feel and probably regret that decision for the rest of the day.
This book, about donuts, realizes that fundamental truth about its subject and offers just enough poems to satisfy, but not so many that you'll feel stuffed, obese, and nauseous.


Q: Why is there no electronic version of this book?

A: Can you consume donuts on your Kindle? Obviously not. Likewise, you'll need the physical form of this book to really enjoy it.
Honestly, I could have published the electronic version of the book, just like I did for my When I am King... books, but I don't think that electronic books do justice to illustrated books. And the illustrations are such an important part of this book that I didn't want to lose that dynamic in turning to digital. Sometimes, old-fashioned is best.


Q: The art in this book looks different than the drawings on your two When I am King... books. Did you take classes? Or practice?

A: Again with the multiple questions. But I'll overlook this and rephrase your questions as a simple "What gives?"
When I realized that I would need to provide illustrations for every poem in the book, sometimes more than one per poem, I soon saw that: (a) it would take me a long time to draw illustrations I was happy with and (b) I was incapable of drawing anything but my own self portrait. So I sought the aid of an old friend of mine, Jim Bias, who was able to work through the material with me, figure out a style that we both liked, and quickly deliver all kinds of options for the book.
I hope this marks an important change in the direction of my books; whenever there's an illustration that's not my self-portrait, maybe it will be done by Jim.


Q: Could you give us just one poem here?

A: Can't rhyme. No time.



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