Today brought with it a feeling that I really don't think can ever be replicated.

I met some friends of mine at The Vortex in Little 5 Points (greatest burger joint in Atlanta, hands down, end of discussion. If you aren't from here and ever make your way here, DEFINITELY eat at the Vortex at least once. Ignore the Varsity, unless you really really want the runs. Vortex's buffalo burgers are better than Ted's, and they're the only place I know that serves ostrich. And of course, for those of you unafraid of catching T3H MAD COWZ, the beef burgers are insanely good...) Ok, this is a very long aside. I'm afraid I'm going to have to restart my entire paragraph.

I met some friends at The Vortex in Little 5 Points, and while we were eating, it occured to me that I should maybe stop in Criminal Records.

Now, Criminal Records and I go WAY back. Criminal has taken approximately 50% of all the money I've ever earned in my entire life. From age 14 to age 21, I was in Criminal Records EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND (it was known as the "Weekend Sweep" - Mike, Jay, my sister and I would hop in Mike's car, hit Criminal, Oxford Bookstore and Comics, and Felini's every single Saturday). After age 21, I was in there at least once a month, buying the books, comics, records, CD's, toys and magazines that influenced me and made my teenage / young adult life worth living. Criminal is a very, very important place - not just to me, but to America, as it is ranked as one of the top 5 "Must Visit" record stores in the United States (I remember reading that list in some music magazine somewhere... Probably Spin. Had to be in a dentist or doctor's office, because I'd never ever read Spin on my own free time). This store is legendary. It ranks right up there with Amoeba Records in LA / SF and Other Music in NYC in terms of coolness. Every cool band does in-store apperances there. Famous comic artists have signed the walls in the building, among them Evan Dorkin, Frank Miller, Dave Sim, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Jae Lee, Matt Groening, Scott McCloud, and others). This place OOZES cool.

So I stopped in and began browsing, and a wild idea popped into my head:

I should ask them if they'd carry my book.

So, I went and spoke to Eric, the clerk who has helped me out in that store every time I've walked in there since I was 14. We know each other marginally, which is to say that we know each other's faces and names, and he knows my overall taste in music. I asked him who I'd talk to about getting my book into the store, and he pointed me to the new book buyer (I'm sorry, I don't remember her name, but she was very very nice). I asked her what I needed to do to get my book into the store, and she replied that she'd need to check it out.

Like any other desperate author boy who has to work like hell to even try to have a shot at making his writing venture successful, I always carry a box of my books in my car. So, I trotted out and grabbed one. I handed it to her, and the very first thing she did was laugh.

That is a great sign.

She loved the title. She loved how orange it is. She loved the quotes, she loved the description on the back, she loved my author photo thingy, and she especially loved the little bubble that says "Buy Me!"

In short: She took the book. In fact, she took 5 of them. And she put them on the shelves, and said that I was now going to be included in regular stock orders each month.

Now, here's the thing - the entire time I was talking to her, it wasn't registering. Nothing was clicking in my head. I was just going through the process, like I have during this entire expedition. For 3 years, I worked really hard at writing code and writing stories, keeping the site running, getting links to the stories. Then, I worked EXTREMELY hard at laying it out and getting it edited. And I worked VERY hard designing the cover. And getting it printed. And getting it shipped. This entire time, the "logical" side of me knew I was writing a book and now it existed, but the "emotional" side of me never really caught on.

And then I looked at the shelf. And there sat my orange book on the shelf in the front of the store -- the very same shelf that I grabbed my copy of "Get In The Van" by Henry Rollins off of. The very same shelf that held the first ever Dave Sim comic I ever bought (Cerebus is still, to this day, one of my foundations for storytelling and art). And it was holding my book.


That's when it hit me. That's when I realized, for the very first time, that I have written a book.

It doesn't really make any difference in the world. In fact, even to the people at Criminal, it's really very insignifigant. But to me, this is the height of my life. This ranks below my wedding but above my circumcision in terms of most impactful events in my existance.

Anyway. I thought I'd share that.