Are you a square peg in a round hole, or a round one in a square hole?
With apologies to Kermit the Frog, “it’s not easy being square . . . or round” or whatever other strange shape we may be.
It takes years to understand who we are or, for that matter, what your book is really about.
“What’s the book about?” folks ask, and I stammer away, fumbling to answer in a word or two. How do you summarize a collection of 48 essays on multiple themes and topics other than to answer, “Well . . . it’s a collection of 48 essays on multiple themes and topics. It’s about blah, blah, blah”?
Readers find what they’re looking for by selecting an aisle or category in a book store or on an online menu that fits their taste.
But what if a book doesn’t fit the square and round hole categories into which publishers and the book-sellers squeeze a book?
More perplexing, what if an author himself doesn’t know whether he’s square or round? Doesn’t know why he writes, and can’t explain what the book’s about, or why, in this world of verbal assaults, anyone should pick his blah-blah-blah off a book-seller’s shelf? What if the author wakes up in the morning looking in the world’s square/round-peg-square/round hole mirror and sees only a confused face looking back?
Then, suddenly, after 75 years of wondering, six months after his book has hit the shelves, he looks into the brand new mirror created by readers and reviews, and sees something altogether new and different.
Be Still! and I are an octopus! A searching digesting center with tentacles reaching out in all directions gathering food for thought, spitting out the toxins, and growing more or less mature in the sea of societal madness.
But wait! Wait! Maybe not! Maybe they’re Kermit on a lily pad.
“Have you ever stopped to wonder how a frog, obviously heavier than a lily pad, can manage to stay above water and not sink a lily pad?” – Frog on a Lily Pad
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 25, 2017.
Enter the very prosaic mind of Kidder, high school PSSC student, and former librarian: “Surface tension is the elastic tendency of a fluid surface which makes it acquire the least surface area possible. Surface tension allows insects (e.g. water striders), usually denser than water, to float and stride on a water surface.
At liquid–air interfaces, surface tension results from the greater attraction of liquid molecules to each other (due to cohesion) than to the molecules in the air (due to adhesion). The net effect is an inward force at its surface that causes the liquid to behave as if its surface were covered with a stretched elastic membrane. Thus, the surface becomes under tension from the imbalanced forces, which is probably where the term “surface tension” came from. Because of the relatively high attraction of water molecules for each other through a web of hydrogen bonds, water has a higher surface tension (72.8 millinewtons per meter at 20 °C) compared to that of most other liquids. Surface tension is an important factor in the phenomenon of capillarity.”. Introduction to a longer article on surface tension in Wikipedia.
The book is a wonderful variety of treasures from a mind that perceives closely and describes sympathetically. (Close as I can come.)
Aha! ! PSSC! So…You went to high school at the Puget Sound Skills Center? I could have sworn you went to Marple-Newtown. Or maybe you went to M-N and went on to become a member of the Physical Science Study Committee! That’s where google took me in my octopus search from my little Mac lily pad. Thanks for the nice words. Croak!
Trends come and go. Hopefully the essay will be a tread to return.
Marjorie, either a thread or a tread — either way, it might be! 🤗