I sow seeds around this time every year: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet peas. And basil. Lots and lots of basil. (I make pesto for the freezer in the fall). With luck, some heat, and a little water, a single seed will grow into a large, sturdy plant that will bear lots of fruit. In the same way, the seed of an idea, tended and metaphorically watered, will grow into a book that touches people.
When I’m sowing seeds, I’m usually focused on the end product: the book I’ll hold in my hand or the tomato I’ll eat. But lately staying on track isn’t easy.
In the world of publishing, there’s lots of talk about what’s better – books that are traditionally published or books that are self-published. Go on Twitter and I guarantee you’ll find someone extolling the virtues of one over the other.
In the world of gardening, the ‘what’s better’ debate revolves around the kind of seed you sow. There are those who insist open pollinated (sometimes called heirloom) seeds are far superior and the only way to go. Still others tout the virtues of hybrid seeds (the result of planned crosses between first generation parents). Then there are genetically modified seed (the devil’s spawn some would suggest).
Admittedly I’m not a proponent of genetically modified seed but as for the rest of it . . . well, it’s starting to bore me. Hybrid seed or open-pollinated? Traditional publishing versus self? Who. Really. Cares.
And who is the definitive authority on what’s better anyway?
As long as that tomato is the real deal: drippy and delicious and stuffed between slabs of homemade bread (with extra Hellmann’s mayo and maybe a slice of Havarti), I’m happy. And as long as that book yanks me in and holds me hostage – electronically or otherwise – I’m all over it.
Because as far as I’m concerned, a tomato is a tomato and a book is a book. Why complicate things?