I didn’t expect Ruth. Odds are, if her son had not been a now-famous doctor I met when he was not famous, I would not have Ruth. I certainly wouldn’t have her if I still worked for a trade publishing house. Nobody would publish Ruth: She’s 85. But I do not work for a trade publishing house and that’s where the beauty lies: I can publish Ruth and I can do it brilliantly.
In all this blah blah blah about amazon, that company made Ruth possible. That company became such a brilliant retailer that heads spin, no one can keep up, and everyone gets angry. So, whats the big deal? Try to keep up as best you can.
Like the mongoose in Hawaii, amazon has no predators. But it will. It’s nature’s way. Right now, good heads are at work. Incursions will come. It’s capitalism, baby, so don’t whine out of both sides of your mouth, book publishing. No one owes you a living. Innovate.
But I don’t care about them. I care about Ruth’s story: She’s a wife, mother, teacher, high school principal, community volunteer and smuggler. It’s 1953 and she is in Berlin, smuggling for the “people of the forest” – Jews that survived the concentration camps. They survived because they were young, strong. They ate bark off the trees, stole goods when they could, did anything they had to do to stay alive. They came to the edge of the trees to meet the car, standing around in ragged clothes. Her husband Saul is a philanderer. They run dangerous missions across borders for the forest Jews in a hollowed out Mercedes. They never get caught. This is non-fiction.
I look up from the manuscript and can’t believe it. Characters have left the room and Ruth’s voice isn’t in my head, matter-of-factly telling me what she learned about human beings by running gold over International borders after the Holocaust. She is Jewish and “wanted to do what she could.”
I can’t believe we almost lost this story and that’s the miracle: Companies such as amazon have given countless people a place to tell stories that never ever would have seen the light of day – and that matters. A whole bunch.
Viva amazon. I say. And I can’t wait for that drone to deliver my stuff in 30 minutes.