Whether they cry like crazy and cling to your leg and shout “No, no, no!” or they turn and run happily into the babysitter’s arms, dropping your kid of at day care sucks. Or, like my daughter, they may just fix you with a look that says, “Yeah, okay, you can leave me with this veritable stranger, miles from home, out here in the arctic cold, go ahead, I’m little and innocent and can’t do anything about it, but I’m brave. See me? I’m brave.”
And you drive home with that image of the baby girl seared across your heart, and you tell yourself you are going to make the absolute most of the day, get it done, make the money, make a great piece of art, or literature, and five minutes later you’re playing Godfather: Five Families online.
But not for long, okay? Not for long. Because once you’ve gone and collected all the respect from your cityscapes in Five Families and made war on a couple of unsuspecting noobs, the phone rings and its an old buddy who says he’s thinking of starting to write these things called Kindle Singles, that he’s been talking to some guy who’s been having great success with it, selling these short pieces through Amazon for like a buck apiece and making thousands of dollars from them.
Maybe, you think, the thing to do is go and find this guy who’s making all this money and rob him. Or, the thing to do is write singles about how dropping your kid off at day care sucks. But you shake your head, no, you’re not going to get into either of those things, you tried something like that a couple years back, trying to roll a guy in the street and all you got was his first edition Kindle with a lousy 38 bitcoins in his Amazon account. And you already wrote a series about a detective who’s a ghost hunter and you have away the first ten installments for free and charged a buck for the last one and sold about two.
Not that it couldn’t be better this time around, but you tell your buddy, nah, nor for me, I’m writing the follow up to my novel that was just published by Joffe Books.
Only thing is, today you can’t really work on the book because you’ve misplaced the charger for your Vaio laptop, and it’s the only thing you can really type on, because the other laptop, an old MacBook Pro, has a weird keyboard that makes you type like kjadnpfffsanthis and it’s too frustrating to try and turn out 2,000 words that way.
(Aside: These are what you might refer to as “Uptown Problems.” Even though you live nowhere near uptown, and you do really need to make money off of your book and more books to follow because all of the other options for livelihood are dwindling down to nothing and the mortgage is due and the electric and phone and property taxes and more wood for the wood stove and fuel oil for the hot water and really, you want to get solar panels some day and live off of the land and grow your own food and keep some chickens and maybe a pig, depending.)
You ask your buddy how his day is going, and he’s good, he’s your age (when it starts to get not cool to say how old) and he basically exiles himself from the house where he crashes with his parents and goes to the library to sell his old Transformers on eBay to try and support himself while he works to bring success to an obscure filmmaker from Uganda. Or, if he’s liquid that day, and has like three bucks, he might find a coffee shop and spend the afternoon there, editing subtitles into footage filmed in African slums filled with buoyant, incredibly innovative people, blowing things up with rudimentary computer graphics and roaring wooden guns.
Those would make good Kindle Singles, stories about your buddy’s trips over there and how he became the mugundu, how he became Ssali, covered in cow’s blood and standing in raw sewage and grinning like a kid who just found the best friends and the best games and something that might approach the pure joy of creating entertainment, flying in the face of poverty and oppression.
Clearly, yes, ours are uptown problems. We suffer our little sufferings, like having to skulk to the library in order to avoid the shaming looks in our parents’ eyes when we are far too old to still be at home, far too old to be playing with cow’s blood, or having to drop our daughters off at day care so we can ultimately come home and write blog posts appealing to people to buy our books.
Did I appeal yet? Please buy my book. For my daughter’s sake. Because dropping your kid off at day care sucks no matter what, but at least with a book that is selling and the promise of more readers for the sequel, her bravery will not be in vain.