Written on the Occasion of a Book-Birthday

(with apologies and the offer of a drink to Master Shakespeare, who would have understood)

“To brace or not to brace; that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The inevitability of that Klausner review,
Or to take refuge against a poor store display,
And by ignoring deny them? To work: to weep;
No more; and by weeping to say we endure
The heart-ache and the thousand returned books
An author is prone to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To work, to weep;
To weep: perchance to go out of stock: aye, there’s the rub;
For in that work of bookstores what fears may come
When we have shuffled off this contractual coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of too little backlist;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Locus,
The reviewers’s wrong, the disappointed reader’s spite,
The pangs of despised love, the payment’s delay,
The insolence of wannabes and the spurns
That patient merit of the unpublished takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a delete button? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of there being nothing after,
The remainder’d country from whose bourn
No author returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus publishing doth make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And manuscripts of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the pacing of action. – Soft you now!
The fair New York Times list! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my words remember’d.”

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This work by Laura Anne Gilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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