Your Literary Shelf Life

I have an assignment for you. One that takes you away from the screen you're in front of right now (you know, the box where your friends are?) and sends you out into the world. Don't worry this won't be hard and I'll even ease you, calm your nerves, pat your little head while I tell you a story about me. If you want a story about someone else, so somewhere else. Right?

But this is about me and you, mostly me, but also mostly you. I'm worried about my literary shelf life and I don't know that you've even thought about yours. Now, that's not to say I think I'm tough shit or anything, and I'm not talking about those 15 minutes of fame everyone else has. I'm talking about your works' actual, physical, and very real life on the shelf.

I have this little, stupid thing I do, that I'm not embarrassed by or trying to hide, anytime I'm in a bookstore or library. It just is and it's what I do, so here you go. I, being that my last name is Telsch-Williams, head to the fiction section and track down the T's. Then I find the Te's. Get where I'm going with this? I find the exact spot, the direct pinpointed location, where my book(s) should one day belong. I slip a hand in between the cool covers of the books there, sometimes paperback and sometimes hardcover, and wiggle my fingers around in that slot.

This is my writings' home. This is the place where anyone that is interested in my writing will one day look (hopefully), and this is the spot where they will find me. I check out either side of my hand, see who the neighbors are. Half the time, depending on location, I've never heard of either of these authors and that's totally okay with me. I just take it all in. This is where my books will sleep when the store is locked and the lights are low. I also like to see how high or low "my" shelf is. I love a good eye-level house. Perfect for haphazard encounters with readers who aren't looking for you, but find you by chance.

I drag my hand back away and leave a slim gap between the books, step back, and just enjoy the sight of this space waiting for me to finish writing, submit stories, be rejected, get accepted, be published. And in all this time, that opening will wait for me. My spot. My words. One day. So, my assignment for you is to go find your literary shelf life, your bit of hallowed ground, and take it all in. This is the spot you should be thinking of on those days when you're unsure of your plot, hate your protagonist, and think a marathon of Community is a better idea than living your dream. This is also the spot you should be thinking of on the days when your fingers ache from typing and you can't stop the prose from coming. Then, after you've cased the shelf, come back and let me know how you like your new digs.

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