I was strolling through a public library branch recently and noticed a book cover. The author was Dr. Zhi Gang Sha, who is described on the tome as a “number one New York Times Bestselling Author.” The title was Divine Soul Songs, and it proclaimed itself as “Sacred Practical Treasures to Heal, Rejuvenate, and Transform You, Humanity, Mother Earth and All Universes.”
I thought, “Boy Howdy! This guy really knows how to build some lofty expectations!”
I was reticent about even telling anyone I was writing a book. What if I didn’t finish it? What if I did, and it just absolutely sucked?
This encounter caused me to ponder my own position. I’m trying to jumpstart book sales for my novel MFN—A Cultural Satire, but it’s a tough market to get a foothold in. Perhaps if I renamed my book something like MFN—A Guide to Centeredness, Meaningfulness, and Zen Within Your Own Personal Universe and the Bleakly Inferior Void-like Souls of Others.
After only a few seconds of the aforementioned pondering, I abandoned the idea, primarily because it would require a pricey redesign of the cover. Plus, it occurred to me that no one would actually believe this title, since I wasn’t a doctor of anything, and people would know as soon as they read the first sentence that they had been duped. All I need is a Facebook group set up by people to voice their disdain and deep-seated urges to launch class-action law suits or catch me alone in an alley some night.
Instead, I contacted the Toronto Public Library system. After channeling through the daunting but pleasant labyrinth of library management staff, I have several copies of the book in circulation throughout the city’s numerous branches.
This small victory conjured an epiphany: this could be only the first step toward my triumph over the literary world and domination of modern culture!
I started thinking about other books like Anne of Green Gables. It was written in Canada, and there’s a whole culture and industry built around that novel. Entire towns make their livings off tourism, merchandising, and appreciation garnered from adoring Anne of Green Gables fans.
I began picturing MFN gift shops, where you could buy licensed coffee mugs, collectors’ edition coins with official certificates of authenticity, and porcelain figurines.
There could be MFN tours, available through your local travel agent, consisting of cross-country road trips on Greyhound buses, just like the characters in the book do.
First stop: the MFN Wax Museum and Candy Factory, where T-shirts, caps, hoodies, antennae flags, bumper stickers, and postcards will be available for purchase, and we HONOR ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS!
Don’t forget educational toys for kids, like cuddly plush MFN Talking Dummies, and what kid won’t want to dress up like their favourite MFN character this Halloween?
By then, fast food restaurant chains should be in fierce competition to trademark their own MFN Meal, as amusement parks scramble to negotiate the rights to build extravagant MFN theme rides.
Then possibly MFN the Musical could open for a run on Broadway. Not a single actor should get hurt doing stunts, since there aren’t any.
It did occur to me that I’ve never seen anyone wearing Dr. Zhi Gang Sha T-shirts at the beach, and he’s a number one New York Times Bestselling Author. Maybe I was getting a bit ahead of myself.
When I really thought about it, I don’t want to spend a lot of my time honouring requests from various townships to come and cut ribbons at their annual MFN Days celebrations. I don’t even attend the community events close to my own house.
For now, I’ll just leave it with the fact that MFN—A Cultural Satire is available in the Toronto Public Library. If you’re one of the four to five million people who live in the Greater Toronto Area, I hope you’ll consider reading it.
Though, it would be much better if everyone just bought a copy and saved more space on library shelves for Zhi Gang Sha’s next one.