DATELINE: Unwanted Gifts Redux
Latest Affront to Re-Gifting.
A friend kindly scoffed at me for a bad habit.
He claimed how I had a tendency to give away gifts to people who did not necessarily want them. He was referring to my bad habit to bestow a copy of one of my books to people who have been nice to me.
I usually inscribe them with thanks for some generic kindness. It is, I am told, not appreciated because I have given people something that they cannot repay or reciprocate. After finding my personally autographed books for sale on eBay (with warm wishes to someone who sold the book to a used bookstore), I have re-dedicated myself to not giving away books.
Well, okay. I realize that not everyone can write a book and return a copy to me in standoff fashion. However, I thought that providing a free, gratis copy of a personal creation would qualify as an act of generosity, not as a slap with my velvet glove.
However, my friend argues that it is not that at all: it is a brazen show of ego.
Well, you can knock me over with a dust-jacket. I would never have thought that giving a personal gift would be construed as an act of selfishness. In fact, I always thought the creative process was something to be shared.
Alas, if you share it with those who have no appreciation, no interest, or no good manners, the writer of a book may well deserve to have the gift accepted without thanks or acknowledgement.
I often note that I give away my book as a token of my gratitude and not as homework assignment. I will not quiz the recipient on the book’s message or contents. If I did, we know the result would be a failing grade. We’ve seen enough of that in the nation’s body politic.
As a resolution, I have now promised my old friend that I will be more circumspect in sharing my books. Never give a page away that is not requested, or at least has some kind of interest expressed by another. It means I will save money on copies and postage.
It is an age when reading is a chore, not a pleasure, and the disrespected writer is a prophet without honor in any country.
Dr. William Russo is too prolific for his own good, and he has written too many movie history books and biographies. He will continue to write, but not to send out complimentary copies.