Everybody does it. I look at the books around me every day in the bookstore and I imagine the books I don’t see; the books I’m unlikely to ever see published, or even written. It isn’t a symptom of dissatisfaction with the books there are. Every day I get to work in the bookstore I look forward, not just to the new books I’ll find there, but to the books I already know, the books I know I can sell, recommend, find for the customers.
But now and again, I find myself looking at some perfectly respectable title and tinkering with it, changing it to better suit my own lower expectations. I’m not much for activism any more, or enthusiasms. I’ve never been much of sports fan, for instance. I don’t garden. I’m certainly not above eating cheese over the sink because I can’t be bothered to find a plate, let alone cook. Like many basically sedentary individuals, I rather marvel at the more active souls who seem to be always doing; making the world a better place, bringing beauty up from the earth, going after world championships. I admire that kind of drive, I do. Maybe I resent it just a little too. Maybe. I certainly like reading about it. Anyway, as a cartoonist, I’m not above putting words into other people’s mouths, or assuming that at heart everybody would secretly just as soon get home, take their pants off, read a novel and eat cold pizza.
Maybe I’ll doodle a bit. Maybe I’ll doodle the books I’d write were I any of the following admirable individuals, all of them Northwest favorites, one of them a recent recipient of the PNBA Award. No harm. Just for a grin. To be honest, now and then, I just like the idea of draining a little of the pep out of things. (And before anybody decides they now hate me, I still kinda think baseball is pretty boring too.)
Brad Craft is the used book buyer at University Book Store in Seattle, and he blogs at Usedbuyer2.0. His 2014 Calendar of Literary Caricatures is still be available in limited quantity, and he just published a new book, The Serial Doodler, through the University Book Store Press, which contains roughly five years of doodles and cartoons from his blog, some of which even first saw the light of day at nwbooklovers.org.