The Rectory, St. James the Least
My dear Nephew Darren
After all these years, who would have believed it: to have my own book printed. I must admit, I had imagined a leather-bound volume with gold leaf lettering on the spine – perhaps even titled “Volume One”, implying future delights when further work would appear.
A paperback, held together with glue was a slight disappointment. The publisher’s reason for a print run of 50, saying that it meant fewer would have to be dumped in cut-price bookshops was not what I had expected either.
He seemed to think that my commentary on Eusebius’s tables for cross-referencing the gospels, as explained in his letter to Carpianus, would not have mass interest.
While I concede it will be unlikely to dent the sales of Harry Potter, and that I am unlikely to be involved in negotiating the film rights, I had hoped for slightly more enthusiasm for this stride forward in global knowledge. The excitement of the book launch and signing was also tempered when only the bishop arrived, expecting a free copy, so he could mark it for theological errors. My suggestion that he take a copy to colour it in did not go down well. I suspect I will not now be asked to deliver a paper on it at the next clergy conference.
I was briefly excited when several parishioners came into the shop. But it turned out that one wanted to book a baptism with me, and another wanted to complain that at his recent wedding, I had nearly married the best man to the bride. I was tempted to tell him that the time may come when he wished I had, but decided that would be another sale lost.
I could not even console myself with a free drink. The publisher had only brought two bottles of that particular white wine, of unknown origin, that seems specially reserved for book launches and retirement parties. I suspect it derives less from a vineyard and more from a laboratory.
One bottle he kept for himself and the other disappeared after my Confirmation class came in to ask whether the book would be serialised on TV.
In the end, I bought all 50 copies myself, placed a note in the bookshop window saying that, due to exceptional demand, the print run had been entirely sold out. It has also solved the annual problem of Christmas presents; in your case, a second copy will probably arrive for your birthday too.
Your loving uncle,
(written by the Rev Dr Gary Bowness)
With many peaceful blessings