A Weird Nostalgia (VEDA Day 4)

A Weird Nostalgia (VEDA Day 4)

Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.

So, a couple of days each week, for about an hour at a time, I get very busy shipping all of the print books that have been ordered by Amazon each week.

It usually consists of unpacking some boxes of books into other boxes of books, but only after signing the books inside, because all books I sell through Amazon are signed.

It feels good to get out of my chair and get some work done with my hands, but I also have a very strong, very weird nostalgia for the act of packaging and shipping books.

From the time I was 19 to the time I was 23, I worked at the book warehouse of a major international publisher, and I was, in fact, in charge of running that warehouse.

I had five people working for me at one point or another, and another seven people in the shipping department who worked with us, and together we moved hundreds of thousands of pounds of books every single week.

I’ve personally packaged boxes of books that have shipped to almost every country in the world. I’ve packaged individual books that have gone to readers and entire pallets of books that have gone to bookstores.

The four years I worked in that warehouse were some of the best of my life. I loved what I did, I loved the people that I worked with. That warehouse was where I met Meghan, and it’s where I was working when we found out we were going to be parents.

I don’t have anything like that now, of course. I only have my little office in my home. I doubt it’s more than 200 square feet, and it has a tiny little shipping desk with flow racks I hand-made out of cardboard boxes.

Maybe some day Legacy Books will have an actual warehouse. I sure hope so. I hope that someday we’re publishing enough books and selling enough books that we need a warehouse to store them all, and a team of people to ship them.

And if we do, I’m sure I’ll come and visit the warehouse every so often, to package up and ship some books. Because I have fun doing it, and after doing it SO many times for SO long, it has a way of really clearing my head.

The dangerous thing about a creative profession is that our creations are often ephemeral. We can spend tens or hundreds of hours on a book, a film, but when we’re done, it’s this sort of nebulous thing.

I mean, what IS the book I wrote? Is it the copy on my shelf? Is it the dozens of copies in boxes waiting to be shipped out? Is it the thousands of copies on the Kindles of readers around the world?

Painting and sculpture are a little better, but they have another problem. It’s all that work on ONE thing. ONE sculpture, ONE painting. Even if it’s an acrylic painting hanging on the wall, that’s a lot of investment for ONE result.

Working with my hands lets me see many, many particles moving in a short space of time. In the course of an hour I can pack and ship over a hundred books. And I can keep working faster and faster, until I can do a hundred and fifty, or two hundred.

Artists spend so much of our time figuring out how to do ONE thing the BEST we possibly can that we forget the joy of doing as MANY things as FAST as we possibly can.

Not that there’s anything wrong with spending time to do one thing right—I wouldn’t have just done the whole Restoration Project if there was—but as with all things, I find a balance between the two of them is what makes me happiest.

That’s it for today, Rebel. Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you tomorrow. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

Share This