A book is like a tomato

Jan 21, 2013 | Writing A Book

Some years back I was driving down state route 99 in California’s Central Valley behind a truck taking tomatoes from the fields to a processing plant. I watched as a tomato fell from the high bin on the truck, hit the pavement, and just sat there, unbroken.

That’s the tomatoes they sell down at the supermarket. They’re red and round and tough enough to fall off a truck without smashing. They’re also taste- and nutrition-free. My theory is that they’re not really grown, they’re strip-mined.

There are a lot of books like that. They look like books should look but they don’t offer much in the way of good writing or mental nourishment.

You don’t have to settle for strip-mined tomatoes. With a little hunting you can find tomatoes that are nutritious and taste good.

You don’t have to write a book that’s the equivalent of the strip-mined tomatoes either. That kind of book might look good and even sell, but it won’t represent the best of you. It will represent the you that cuts corners and settles for “good enough.” Is that what you want?