"This is The Man. He is the true son of Hal Foster." - Ray Bradbury, about me. Foster was the creator of PRINCE VALIANT, and from childhood on, Ray's favorite writer/illustrator. No father could have spoken any prouder words to a son, and it meant the world to me to receive them. They mean even more now. And they'll mean even more tomorrow. God protect your rocket, Ray, on this new magnificent flight. I am heartbroken with joy to have known you as I did, and I will love you forever.
The followup to DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS, Book II of The Meditations, THE BARBIZON DIARIES – A Meditation on Will, Purpose, and the Value Of Stories is now available for sale at the Coppervale Marketplace, and will very shortly be up at Amazon and B&N.com. It is gorgeous, moving, inspiring, and wrenching, in all the best ways. Early readers have already responded with five-star reviews at Goodreads. This is the trio: pdf, epub, and mobi, all in one zipped file, so you can read it on any device. All the DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS Kickstarter supporters will either be sent one directly, or given a link for a download. If DotD was my heart, this one is my soul – it’s the center of my personal mythology. Mythologies are huge, sweeping things. And the grandest stories are those with the widest arcs of triumph and despair. As much as we may want to, we may not be able to avoid the despair — but triumph is a matter of will. DotD was written for everyone, but THE BARBIZON DIARIES is an advanced course in surviving the Refiner’s fire — because some stories are too important not to share, and some stories are too meaningful to hide. If you find something of value in it, I hope you will post about it, on Facebook and at Goodreads, and send people to read DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS. It’s the primer for this one, and really should be read first. Help me spread the word, and maybe, together, we can start some good trouble that will grow larger than what I can do alone.
With luck, it’ll grow larger than us all.
Love, your brother in moxie,
We're getting close to 2000 downloads of the Drawing out the Dragons ebook. Some people have gotten the mistaken impression that it involves drawing dragons, which it does - but only slightly. What its really about is overcoming the obstacles and challenges we all face so that you can lead an extraordinary life. Everyone finds something different in it - have a look, and pass along the link. You'll be glad you did.
The great Will Eisner once did a comics story that took place over ten minutes, and ended with the line, "What's ten minutes in a man's life?"
It is, as it turned out in both the story and in many circumstances in the real world, very, very significant.
Yesterday, I offered a free ebook of DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS - A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power of Choice, to everyone who chose to enter their name and address and click a download link. I stated as my goal that I would like to give away ONE THOUSAND books in twenty-four hours. And now, after just that ONE DAY, more than 1100 people have taken me up on my offer, and started reading the book that I consider to be the most meaningful thing I've ever written.
In just one day, people have already begun to tell me that this book is changing their lives - and I am humbled, and grateful. And now I would like to share the reason that I chose to do this.
My recent keynote address as the Guest of Honor at the LTUE Symposium at Utah Valley University brought the room to its feet for a long standing ovation, and for the rest of the day people shook my hands, and hugged me, and cried as they spoke, and thanked me for what I said in that presentation. It continued into the night at the restaurant where I ate, and at the signing, and then, at my hotel, via email. Some notes I got I was able to respond to in person the next day.
One note, I wasn't.
Emily Adams, my Book Babe and handler for the day, is the only one I shared this with at the time, because I was still processing it, and wasn't sure... I wasn't sure how to encompass all the emotion that I felt in reading this one particular letter.
Someone who may not even have been registered for the Symposium, but who was a fan, and nevertheless wanted to come, had attended the keynote.
They intended for that to be one of the last acts of their life.
One hour later, they changed their mind, because they believed I was speaking directly to them when I said, "I am here to say one of the most important things one human being can say to another - I believe in you. There is magic in the world, and I can show you where it is. And I will not let you fall."
The next morning, this person wrote me a note to thank me for being there, and for saying what I did - and to tell me they had informed friends and family of their circumstance, and now people knew, and they were going to a hospital to get some help.
And I cried, and bumped into walls while I got dressed, and then Emily and her hubby picked me up, and I went back to the Symposium, where I thought about the thousand different obstacles that had to be overcome for the Symposium to happen, and for me to attend, and for me to give that keynote address in that one hour, when that one person needed it more than anything.
Ten minutes. One hour. One day. They are significant measures of time when they contain something meaningful. I wanted to do something meaningful that lasted more than an hour, and reached more people than I could reach on my own, and so I called upon you, my Dragon Army, to help me - and together we helped start changing the lives of more than a thousand people in a single day.
I don't have anything more to say about what has already happened, except to note that it is YOU, each of you, who made this a magic and spectacular twenty-four hours: it is YOUR conviction that this book is meaningful that fired up people's imaginations, and got them to reach out for something they didn't realize they needed until they started to read. You did this. And knowing that, all I have left to say is a question, and a challenge...
You made something EXTRAORDINARY happen in just one day.
What can you do with a WEEK?
I believe in you.
Here's the link. Pass it on - to EVERYONE.
Your brother in moxie,
I'm commencing signing 2500 books, and packing prints, books, and bookmarks into packages to be shipped to you all as soon as humanly possible.Anybody wanting extra copies (or who hadn't ordered them via the Kickstarter campaign) can get them via Coppervale. They won't be shipped with the Kickstarter rewards, but we'll do our best to get anything ordered out before Christmas. Go here to order: http://
There’s been a lot of discussion about your recent addition to Amazon of an app that people can use to scan items in stores – items which they are then asked to purchase from Amazon instead of at their local store. In addition to (in all probability) getting a lower price on the same item, they’ll also get five bucks for using the app. I think, as a business move, this is brilliant. As a PR move, it seems to have been a bit of a misstep.
I’d like to make a suggestion to undo a lot of that PR damage, and in the same move give you some positive PR that will be all but unassailable by your critics.
I’d like to suggest you create a new app – a seasonal one, that’s valid from the day after Thanksgiving until midnight on Christmas Eve. For the purposes of my suggestion, and because it’s the field I work in, the app would be limited to use in independent bookstores. With this app, which we could call “Santa’s Apprentice”, for any customer who scans a book in an independent bookstore – and then purchases that item at that store – Amazon would donate five bucks to a program that provides free books to kids at Christmas.
You still get the market data that all the experts seem to think you’re after – but the independent bookstore gets the sale, and some kid who may otherwise be getting nothing under the tree will have a chance to get a beautiful book of their very own. I’m already doing something similar as an individual, but charities like Kids Need To Read would be an excellent recipient for those donations, and are practically primed to start just such a program.
Making smart business choices has been the hallmark of your professional career, and it has certainly benefitted your company. Doing something like this is another arena altogether: it’s doing something that would not only help your competitors in a time of economic uncertainty, but would also help to give children some hope and happiness at a time in our world when both are sorely needed. And as PR, it’s as simple as Gimbel’s sending customers to Macy’s in Miracle on 34th St. It’s a move that generates both goodwill and profits.
Too often, I’ve seen kids – who will never get a Christmas present – out on street corners at this time of year with their parents, who are selling decorated pencils, or other little odds and ends just to try to make ends meet. Those are the kids I’m going to be giving presents to this year – as many as I am able. And I can’t for the life of me imagine approaching such a kid and telling them, “I have the ability to give you a book of your very own for Christmas – but I can’t, because my shareholders wouldn’t like it.” I bet you couldn’t, either.
Mr. Bezos, you have demonstrated beyond any doubt that Amazon is both successful and powerful. I hope you’re willing to demonstrate, to your own benefit, that Amazon can be good, too.
With all best wishes,
James A. Owen
Author, Independent Bookstore Owner, and Senior Apprentice to Kris Kringle