June 16, 2021: This Week We're Also Wild About... Patricia Jackson

Patricia JacksonWhat's the title of your upcoming book?

Forging a Nightmare

What book should readers go to for an escape from reality?

When I want to escape reality, I go old school. The Inferno by Dante Alighieri. It has had such a profound impact on my writing. For a less academic escape, True Knight by Susan Dexter. Knights, swords, romance, magic, and horses!

What book should readers go to when they want to face reality?

My go-to book when I need some life-coaching is Warrior of the Light by Pablo Coelho to be promptly followed by Way of the Bow. The former has actually saved a few of my students' lives. Great mindfulness resources.

What was your reading life like before the pandemic?

I have to plan my reading time or I don't get any, especially when I'm writing. As an English teacher, I spend a lot of time reading: discussion posts, short essays, and research papers, which empties my mental gas tank. Add to this, I am also a Creative Writing teacher, and the reading duties really cut into my personal reading time. My students produce at 1,000 to 5,000 words a week. Multiple that by 47, plus writing recommendation letter and editing college entrance essays for seniors...it's a lot to get through.

What has your reading life been like since the pandemic?

My reading time is chaotic because I am a finicky reader. I'll confess it. I am a very visual person, so if the author does not ride the unicorn or land the dragon (or the Millennium Falcon) at my mental doorstep, I'm not going. The pandemic has exacerbated this, raising the bar, because when the need for escape arises, the books must really get the job done and take me away.

Why should people read for pleasure? Is that any different now?

Academic reading has its purpose to teach and for the reader to learn. It does not always stretch the boundaries of creativity or innovation, depending on the field. Reading for pleasure takes the weight of reality off and lets the mind of the inner child wander across forgotten histories or unexplored starscapes, where one can ride unicorns or battle the monsters that lurk between Heaven and Hell-all before going to sleep. All in a day's good work.

What do you hope your book gives to readers?

Glowing Green Around Mystical HorseMy gift to the reader is simple. It's okay to not fit in. You were never meant to exist in a boxed category that has, in many cases, been imposed on you by a society that does not really know the real you and has judged or labeled you without your consent. Be you! If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot walk, crawl. If you cannot crawl, scream at the top of your lungs to let the universe know that you are here and will be counted! Your only obligation to the world at large is to be a better person than you were the day before. That's it.

Should book lovers worry about the future of publishing during the pandemic? If so, how can they help?

Not at all. Because people need to escape and cannot always leave the house, they are departing reality through books. Now more than ever. Books are gateways. Easy, portable teleportation devices to other dimensions. Audiobooks are more popular now than ever before. Though listening to an audiobook while driving, for me, would definitely count as distracted driving. I get so lost in the story.

If you could imagine your dream virtual library, what would it be like?

A hologram of a barn with horses and ponies munching hay? A cat warm on my lap and a dog by my feet. Is that too much to ask while I read in perfect harmony with the universe? Well, maybe it is too much to ask... right now. As for digital libraries, I may already be in the eye of the hurricane. My taste in reading is like my taste in music. How I feel dictates what I want to read, and I may be reading several books at a time. Having my iPad handy is an easy way to keep an entire library with me wherever I go. What would make it perfect is a digital assistant, customized to my tastes to make suggestions, offer opinions, answer questions, and even read to me when the moment calls for it. We are very close to that.

Where can readers find you online?

If not riding a horse, I can be found in the usual places. My author website is http://www.bybirthright.com and I kick around on Twitter @Treistan.

Do you have a favorite bookstore? Where would you like readers to buy your book (we also have it at the Library, of course!)?

My fave bookstore is right down the road from the high school where I teach. BAM or Books-A-Million in York, PA, where you can snuggle up with a good latte and a nice book!