It suddenly dawned on me—literally dawned, like a kind of rosy golden gradual light—that what we have been looking for since Day One at Exterminating Angel Press are books (and writers of those books) who believe that the world can be a better place right here right now. We’re not looking for books that tell us how bad things are. We KNOW how bad things are. We’re certainly not looking for books that tell us things are great. We know that’s not true, and we don’t particularly want to be lulled into a comfortable feather bed of denial. We want to be alert and up and about in the dawn, and looking around for ways in which we can pitch in and grow a Garden of Eden right here right now.
Well, really, I can’t say it enough. EAP books, and their writers, believe that this world (right here/right now) can be turned into another Garden of Eden. We don’t believe we’re so far fallen that we can’t get up. We don’t believe that we should wait, or that we should encourage others less fortunate than ourselves to wait, for pie in the sky when we die. We believe that we can pick ourselves up RIGHT NOW, apply our free will and extend our native powers to their fullest, and turn the world into a better place. Not tomorrow. But now, right now. In EAP Land it’s not Jam Yesterday, or Jam Tomorrow: our goal, our lodestar, our true north is Jam Today.
And why not? Why exactly not? When will we all learn that it is the more practical option to care for resources and distribute them more equitably? When will our world learn that a great deal of misery comes from battening yourself down from your fellows, from disconnecting, from the illusion that you have to get yours and hang onto it at all costs, no matter what it costs to others. These are literally illusions. And half of the anti depressant users of the world could stop tomorrow if they realized that their small portion was not the whole; and that what was making them miserable was the lack of that realization. Hey, all you guys out there. Stop sitting around moaning about your own problems. You want problems? Check out what our moaning has done to the Iraqi middle class. But in the mean time, we need to get out more. We need to get moving. We need to look around our own families, and then our own neighborhoods, and then our own towns, states, country, and say, “What exactly can I do right now to make myself and others more happy and secure?” Note that ‘and others’ part, thinking about it only for yourself is not going to get you anywhere; trust me on this one; it’s not a moral issue we’re talking about, it’s strictly practical. If all you think about is yourself and your problems or your own grandeur, you are going to be miserable. It is a natural law. I know it’s counterintuitive, but I guarantee you it’s exactly true…and you don’t need a god judging and punishing you, either, to put this law into action. It just happens that way. It’s the way the world was made. Human beings are made to acknowledge they are a part of a whole…not just a whole in themselves. And the odd paradox is that to be a proper part, first each individual has to make themselves whole.
There was a lovely quote from a scientist in a magazine I casually glanced through one day…he was asked, “Have we discovered the Missing Link between animals and humans?” And he laughed and said, “Oh, I think we have. It’s us.”
Because to be fully human is to know that we are not the only people in the playpen. It’s to know that not only are others there, but what happens to them literally happens to us.
Exploit them to get cheaper goods and services? On some level you are going to feel very uncomfortable, and without knowing why. Insist on supporting candidates who attempt to take away women’s rights, children’s rights, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, gays’ rights…and you are going to feel even worse. You might interpret it as feeling worse because those rights have not been done away with, you might have the best intentions for all in the world, but until you acknowledge that those people have rights and you have a practical obligation even to yourself to make sure they retain them, you are going to be a misery guts to yourself and to everyone around you.
Well. You are.
Trust me on this. Like I said, it’s a strictly practical issue.
I had thought the books we were publishing this year were mainly about children. SNOTTY SAVES THE DAY: The History of Arcadia, coming out in May, is about a very unlikely hero—a horrible child from a horrible land who falls through a rabbit hole to another world, battles a Giant Gnome Army with Teddy Bears and Fairy Tale creatures, discovers the secret of who he really is, and changes his own world in the process. And THIS IS US: The New All-American Family, hitting the stores in September, is David Marin’s own story of how he fell in love with three abandoned kids of fieldworkers, all under the age of seven, and their adventure together.
But then I realized, these books are really about the possibility of turning our own world into a garden. Snotty does that with his world, Arcadia; and the scientists in Arcadia have begun to realize that his story may well be how their culture was formed, and may hold the secret of how to get that world back to the garden it could and should be. And David and his kids—Javier, Adriana, and Craig—have immediately, just by loving each other and forming a new, multi-cultural, safe family, made our world blossom out a little more.
So if you are interested in writing about how to turn our world back into a Garden—in any size, shape, or format—then we around here at EAP want to hear from you. We want to play around with ways it could happen. And then we want to see where that goes. Sometimes play can do some very serious things.
We’re counting on that, actually. And besides: what else have we got to do these days other than try to aim for something better?