you can’t get there from here

One of those projects I thought would take an hour, tops, sucked me in and I just now came to remember something basic: you can’t get there from here.

The saying originated (it seems) in Maine as an example of typical downeast humor. If you’re my age or older, you might remember “Burt and I” — two dyed in the wool Mainers who recorded their bone-dry humor skits. They actually have a website, with audio clips. Here’s a good one, but unfortunately they don’t have the “you can’t get there from here” skit up.

All that long backstory comes down to something simple: a tourist asks how to get someplace, and after long discussion he’s told sorry, you can’t get there from here.

Which sounds nonsensical, but really what they’re saying is: there’s no direct route. In fact, it’s such a difficult round about route that you might as well just sit here and have something cold to drink instead.

All I wanted was a webpage which listed, in some kind of organized fashion, all the editions of all the books. If I were as widely published as Stephen King, sure, that would be a big project. But I’ve got seven novels in print. Yes, there are multiple editions and languages, but I thought, how hard could it be?

I’ve already done this in part, by way of Amazon (the link in the nav bar above), but I wanted a page with a simple list including cover images, publication data, and short remarks without a mercantile link. You’d think I was asking for the moon. Not even LibraryThing will let me do it, because the widgets work by means of Javascript, and you can’t customize what data gets pulled. Besides that, LT’s links go to Amazon, too.

So phooey. I don’t even want to go there, so I’ll stay right here. With a cold drink.