Here at Chalk Creek, we spend a great deal of time thinking about our society and culture and how to get people to read more books — and run. Our answer, we talk from nature, and it’s squirrels.
So I’ve been eyeing my sales figures and researching what happens to fiction during the spring and it’s a mixed bag for most writers. If you write about gardening and other spring and summer activities, this is probably your big season. If you’re a fiction writer, it’s mostly hit or miss until the summer rolls in and people realize they need a book to read at the beach after they fry those phones they left in their pockets when they dove into Tahoe or the ocean.
But we like to think ahead and we realized, we need a better way to spark sales in spring. And I think we need an all out holiday complete with some kind of magical character that delivers books to not just kids, but adults, too.
I’ve been researching traditions and legends across cultures that deal with writing and story telling and being clever and I found a lot of good contenders. I thought maybe Coyote from the Native American legends. Coyote already has a rich history and there are tons of great and interesting stories about him. But he’s really too central to the culture of too many nations here in the Americas to turn into a sort of Santa Clause of Books. That’s true of Raven as well. So I ruled them out. Coyote also has some less than PG stories about him, too. But if you get a chance there are a lot of interesting legends about Coyote saving people and animals and also sewing mischief.
I looked at the Muses of Greek Mythology and that would have been cool because you know there’s seven of them and you could get a gift from each muse over a seven day period. You know, you could get some poetry one day, check out a play another, get some history from Clio.. etc. But that seemed too serious and I thought not everyone could identify with them.
I also looked into various legends and myths about Asian and African gods and people who brought writing to people, but again, I couldn’t find one that wouldn’t be seen as somewhat insulting to use for this new holiday.
So then, as I was jogging along the path that runs by Chalk Creek, I saw it. A ground squirrel. It was scurrying, as squirrels do, across the path and down into the dry creek bed to hide in the sage brush. I thought, hey, why not a squirrel. They’re cute, they’re active and they have little hands that seem fit to grip little books.
So we got our magical creature type, a squirrel and now we’ll be building a story about it and this new reading holiday in the days to come. If you have any ideas, go ahead and drop them in the comments.
In the meantime, feel free to go out and get a book to read. There’s no need to wait for a holiday to be invented.
Keep writing, keep running.