And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
When you’re a writer, validity comes in small packages. Your name in a magazine. Applause in a bookstore. An email from a stranger who just had to tell you how your book or story affected him or her. Hopefully five bright stars on a review.
And boxes. Brown cardboard boxes, delivered by a harried UPS driver. Heavy brown cardboard boxes. Because they’re filled with your newest book.
And for me, filled with a book I didn’t even know I was writing. How does that happen?
Today’s Moment Of Happiness Despite The News; A Year Of Spontaneous Essays will be released on September 27th by my publisher, Black Rose Writing. Ever since the idea of making my year-long blog into a book was broached and then solidified, the book just hasn’t felt real.
It’s a blog, for heaven’s sake.
It’s a blog of little pieces that I never ever intended for publication.
It’s a blog of little pieces that I didn’t edit – I wrote them once a day for a year, usually over about fifteen minutes, double-checked the spelling, and posted them. No editing. No polish. No careful scrutiny of word choice and arrangement. Raw.
All through the usual planning and putting together of Today’s Moment – the putting it into manuscript format, with the months becoming chapters (every day was in its own file – man, this was a Microsoft Word nightmare), making suggestions for the cover, seeing it erupt on my screen, new author photos, reading the blurbs for the back cover, getting the galleys, but other than looking for computer glitches, not changing a thing because that was the point of the original blog – it didn’t seem real. A book? I laughed every time I talked about it because at some level, I didn’t believe it. I write books: four novels, two short story collections, two poetry chapbooks. Today’s Moment – a book? I didn’t write a book. I wrote these little bitty posts. They started as Facebook statuses. Then blog posts.
Yesterday, I was waiting for a client to Skype me for a coaching session. She was running late, so I had to stick by my computer for when she called. When the doorbell rang, Michael answered it. He called up the stairs, “Are you expecting anything? There’s a bunch of boxes.”
Today’s Moment isn’t due out until September. I ordered books to have with me when I do appearances and events not associated with a bookstore. But this was only July.
And you know, it’s not really a book anyway.
“I’m not expecting anything,” I said.
“Well, there’s something here,” he said. Later, he told me he had an echo of this conversation when he said to the UPS driver, who was helping carry the boxes into the AllWriters’ classroom, “She has a book coming out, but they’re not supposed to be here yet.” “Looks like they are,” Mr. UPS said helpfully.
I met with my client. I wondered about the boxes downstairs, about what was inside. It had to be the new book. It had to be. But…but…but…
I finally went downstairs. There were six boxes in my classroom. I picked one and set it on the table. And I sliced it open.
Packaging paper. Chucked that to the side.
And there she was. The face of Today’s Moment. My name on the cover.
And right then, it became real. Real! Really really real!
I wrote a book without trying to write a book.
I wrote a book that people, readers, followers, ASKED to be made into a book.
I’m a freaking character in my own book.
And apparently…I can write even when I don’t think I’m writing.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
Book #8 (and #9, a poetry chapbook, will be released in February).
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.
(By the way, you can pre-order Today’s Moment Of Happiness Despite The News; A Year Of Spontaneous Essays now, at 15% off, directly from the publisher. http://www.blackrosewriting.com/biographymemoir/todaysmomentofhappinessdespitethenews