Sunday, April 15th 2012 - The Swindle, "A Book for People who need Screens," may be the wierdest book in history. I was inspired by two things: 1) the Canola Frying Oil jug I biked home one night in hopes of making something from it. 2) the email dialogue I had with Becky the Canby Author's Fair leader in which I had to, on two occasions, calm her worries that I was one of those Internet/e-book/Kindle authors.
Yeah, that's me washing out a jug lined with cooking oil into our bathtub. The original plot was to find an old computer screen at the Goodwill, or somewhere, to fix to the front of the Swindle. I couldn't find one, and I was about to give up, cut a window out of the jug, and call it good--but, right at the last moment, Emily announced that our microwave just died. "Oh...that's terrible," I thought. "I bet I can use its screen for the Swindle."
I won't give you the blow-by-blow storybank account of all that went into making this book work, but it was a real fun one. The hardest part was trying to get the book to balance inside of its frying oil jug computer housing.
When I finished it, I showed it to Emily. All she did was laugh and shake her head. I told her it was a testiment to the lengths an author will go to supply his readers with a book that has a screen. And the most amazing part about the Swindle is that it almost, sort of works! You can put your hands behind the screen, turn the pages, and view The Living City from behind the same screen I used to watch my soup explode through. I won't, however, make any promises about the ease of reading a book with real pages through a screen. That's why it's funny. Any difficulty you have reading from your Swindle in public no doubt will be made up in attention from strangers. I laugh each time I imagine you trying to read the Swindle in your favorite coffee shop. Trust me, it will be a riot. Just watch out for the glare. Here's a side shot of the Swindle -
PROP COSTS: $12.55 + (STORYTIME WORKED: 5hrs 37min x OUR EXCHANGE RATE (based on fed minimum wage): $7.25) = $53.27