What’s the difference?

I’m working for a commercial client this morning and wanted to find out the difference between “freight” and “cargo”. It’s been a long while that I’ve operated under the principle of “never assume you know” for things like this, so instead of doing what all good writers should do and use a dictionary (even an online one) I started googling “What’s the difference between freight and cargo?” But before I’d reached the end of my sentence, Google proposed the most popular similar searches in a drop-down list, as it is wont to do. And that’s when I stopped typing because I saw this:


Now, I understand that there could be some confusion between a baby and a medium-sized squash or a very large zucchini. Maybe even an enormous yam. But an onion?

Well, as it turns out, there are actually some significant similarities between a baby and an onion, almost all of them fuel for very dark jokes, as I found out when I went back and googled what the rest of humanity wants to know (what – freight and cargo aren’t interesting enough for you, people!?) about differences.

Needing to get back to work, I managed to display almost superhuman levels of self-discipline and didn’t click on a single one of the links and wrote this blog post instead. Ahhh… procrastination takes so many forms! And just like babies and onions, it can also involve tears.

Should I become a time-traveler?

…or, if I’m considering travel to Canada or the UK, a time-traveller? But let’s not quibblle about an L here or there; now that I see how easy epublishing can be I’m seriously exploring the possibility of revisiting certain works that I wrote years ago.

Snax cover

The cover I designed for Snax back in 2000.

Take my first novel, Snax. It’s a sci-fi satire set just a few years in the future which has by now become anachronistic in several ways.  It was written at the dawn of modern history before the internet became ubiquitous and smartphones were but a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, yet it remains entertaining and, hopefully, thought-provoking.

Should Snax see the light of day (or at least the light of a flatscreen monitor), flawed though it is? This begs another question: if I start publishing my old stuff willy-nilly, might I run the risk of diluting my “brand”? I’m genuinely curious about this. If I release works that are either less mature than my current output or are in a different idiom (humor, for example), will readers have less respect for “John the author” than if I stick to material that is aligned with my recent work?

I’ll give you a specific example: I spent two-and-a-half years publishing a blog called Good Things From Spam that featured a daily genuine spam email subject line accompanied by my humorous commentary on it. The site is still out there on the internet, gathering pixel dust. At the time (from 2003-2005) many people told me it was funny. This encouraged me to keep writing it. Eventually however I tired of trawling through my spam folder each morning and trying to think up witty stuff to say. Good Things From Spam became an obligation with little upside.

That’s when I realized I’d gathered enough material for a book. so I put together a package and submitted to several print publishers that specialized in novelty books. (For anyone who’s wondering, novelty books are basically the kind you put in your bathroom to read when you’re… you know… producing your very own spam). I divided the book into themed sections and had an illustrator create some cartoon-y pictures as examples of what the entire book could look like. But there were no takers and I moved on to other things.

That brings me to today and the following question: Should I resurrect Good Things From Spam as an eBook? The ePub formatting would take a wee bit of time, but I suspect there would be an audience for it. This is the beauty of epublishing  for a limited investment of time there’s an opportunity to find an audience and make some money.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, so I’m open to suggestions. Isn’t that what blogs are for anyway? An opportunity to interact with others who are interested in the same subject. Come on, folks – give me some input!