A good friend of mine recently strapped down 221 pages of science fiction behind this stunning cover that you see above and has published his first english novel -- which he translated, himself, from his native Italian language. It's hard to express how inspired and impressed I am by Michele Amitrani and what he's done here.
There are many good reasons to read a book: it's well written, the characters draw you in, the plot is riveting and suspenseful, it's a way to kill time on public transit etc. Omnilogos fulfills these reasons and more, because beyond the actual substance of the book there's the fact that while reading it I couldn't shake the feeling of, why am I not doing more?
Michele gave me the honour of reading Omnilogos before he published the final draft, looking for a last line of defence against pesky spelling mistakes that somehow sneak past an editors eagle eyes and for feedback from an english speaking audience. My qualification for this honour consisted of a basic grasp of the english language (a grasp that steadily grew weaker when it came time to explain comma splices and other silly rules -- "...because English is stupid Michele, that's why!") So it was that he put into my hands the culmination of years of his hard work, creativity, and fear. And it was that last aspect, fear, which really inspired me. I have experienced the sheer terror of putting something out into the world that I've created, to have it analyzed, criticized and sent back. But nothing of the scale or permanence that comes with a published novel. So from my own experience and from Michele's own confessions I knew that being on the brink of publishing and sharing his work with the world was a difficult but amazing time.
So what's my god damn excuse? If you meet Michele you'll discover that he's one of the most enthusiastic, loving, and joyful people in the world. An indomitable spirit. He loved science fiction, he had an idea, he decided to write a book, he wrote the book. Simple process. My process of creativity makes it to step three of Michele's, and quite often at that. So does that make my spirit domitable?...no, because English is stupid. What it makes my spirit is a slave to fear, a fear that stops me more often than not from following through on my creative ideas. Fear is the diagnoses and procrastination is the symptom. But while reading Michele's novel I was inspired by the strongest sense of why the hell not that I've possibly ever experienced. I should go back and finish writing that play, why the hell not? I've got a great idea for a novel, why the hell not? Omnilogos was a vaccination to my fear disease. And I've since discovered the vaccine more and more by watching other work in progress by new artists, hearing them talk about their experiences, and seeing the final product on the other side. I'm finding that I need to keep up constant doses of this external motivation however because fear is a nasty, adaptable bastard and procrastination will bite you in the ass when you're not looking, and when you turn your head it'll kick you in the crotch, and as you sink to your knees it'll pull on your hair, and...you get the idea. I've already let fear and procrastination back into my life multiple times since reading Omnilogos, but having the book on my shelf is a good reminder that it can be beat. Because you know what? I saw Michele not a week after he gave me the book to read. And I saw him the day after his book was officially published. And I'll be damned if he wasn't still living, breathing, and happy regardless of (and because of) the fact that he'd just put a piece of himself out in the world.
So, why am I not doing more? Fear. And that didn't stop Michele from self-publishing a novel that he wrote in his second language, so I will hold myself up to that standard of bravery. I think that's a good reason for anyone to put the book on their shelf. Even if you don't like science fiction. Even if you don't like Michele (impossible). Even if you don't like to read...get a copy as a reminder of what you're capable of doing as an up and coming artist if you don't let fear get in the way.
Follow any of these links to Michele's Omnilogos: