When I was in high school the last bus home to the village where I lived was at 5:30 on weekdays and a daring 10:00 on Saturdays. After that, you walked the ten miles home, or hitched.
I never worried about missing the last bus. It was the price you paid for hanging out in the city with your friends after school or on Saturday nights. It was part of life, part of who you were.
Missing the last bus home left you with a strange, disembodied, floating sensation. You were expected to be – you were supposed to be – on the bus but here you were, setting off through the city on foot, no-one knowing where you were. It was like disappearing, almost as if, because you weren’t where you were supposed to be, you were no longer quite real.
It may seem a non-sequitorial stretch going from missing the last bus home to writing, but here goes …
My last book (Walking Away, Fierce Ink Press 2013) was an e-book, and I’m now in discussion with a publisher about publishing a teen novel – by me – in e-form, as well as having several other titles available in e-form, but I still harbour the foolish feeling that ebooks don’t really exist.
I know … I’m an outdated, outmoded, out of time, out of touch, anachronistic, nostalgia-soaked Luddite shouting into the void, “Don’t change anything!”, and of course I appreciate the advantages of ebooks – their ready availability, their ease of acquisition, their ease of transport – all to the advantage of the author!
But the feeling of unreality persists.
And if ebooks don’t really exist – how can the people who write them exist?
Wrestling with this thought, I had that same old disembodied feeling, the one brought on by missing the last bus home, and I still can’t decide whether I should embrace this potential opportunity, or turn it down and – as it were – miss the bus to the future.