Once the window-cleaner, who came to fill his bucket from the tap in my kitchen, asked me: “What are you doing?”, wanting to know what kind of job I had or something like that. Since I don’t have a steady job, I said: “I have written a book”. It was true, for I had just finished my PhD thesis and it had been published by a big publishing house. “Why then do you live here?”, the window-cleaner asked. I didn’t understand, so he explained what he meant. It became clear to me that he thought that when you publish a book, it brings you a lot of money, so you can buy a big expensive house, instead of the simple one where I live. Writing a book seemed to be same to him as writing a million seller. At that moment I was too baffled to give a good answer to such naivety. Now, fifteen years later, my PhD thesis still hasn’t sold more than about 200 copies.
Recently I had to think again of this story. For again I have written a book and it is a special one, for I owe it to you, my dear readers! About five years ago, I started to write these blogs, and as I have told before, I did it for myself. But, unexpectedly, I was praised for it, and I got a prize. Time went on and I continued to be praised by you, and I received and still receive many positive reactions. Then I got an idea: make a book of these blogs. And so I did. Of course, I didn’t put all my blogs in it. Such a book would be too thick, and some blogs are really not worth to be published anew. Therefore I made a selection of about ninety blogs that I considered good enough for a republication and that had a more or less a common theme. But my blogs were in English, and I am a Dutchman. Moreover, from the reactions I got, I knew that I have hardly any Dutch readers. So, I decided to translate the blogs into my native language, hoping to open up a new field of readers. Then I sent the manuscript to a publishing house, which accepted my idea. I found an intriguing title for my book (in fact, the title of one of the blogs) and I made an attractive photo for the cover that fits the title. And now, since a few days, the book is off the press.
Although most of you, my dear readers, cannot read this book in Dutch – but you have been so lucky to be able to read the originals already since many years – you are the pillars of my book. You are those who have stimulated me to start and finish my book project, and therefore I want to thank you: Thank you a lot my dear readers for your stimulating reactions.
Will this book make me financially rich? I think it will not. However, I do not care. Even if in the end it will come out that the book has cost me more money than I’ll have earned with it, it has given me a richer mind: My writing has filled my mind with many interesting ideas, consciously and unconsciously, and now I know, for instance, that the mind is a many-sided and almost universal instrument. You can do a lot with it, and it makes you who you are. You can even run with it, as I discovered, a fact that for me symbolizes the mind’s multipurposiveness most.Henk bij de Weg, Running with my mind. Who am I? What do I do? Zoetermeer: Free Musketeers, 2012 (in Dutch: see the picture and link in the left column here on this page).