Hello friends — happy springtime!!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and there is news to report:
A1 TOP PIECE OF NEWS: I have finished the book. Not the novel, but the other book (The Rise and Fall of Jenny Goodguts). It has a gorgeous cover that I will share any day now. I predict it will be available for purchase in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! First I have to review a proof copy, so it is possible that could slow things down a tiny bit, but not much. I feel terrified and excited and proud.
SECOND MOST EXCITING NEWS: I am in a band! We are discussing our name tonight. We have a two-hour show on April 24th at the Evening Star. Our first one. I’ll be performing music live for an audience for the first time since before the kids were born (and long before that). It feels amazing to make live music with other people. I’ve missed it so much.
Local wildlife report: There are two pairs of goldfinches sitting outside of my window right now, hanging out in the blooming dogwood. We also have a resident fox who sits on a log outside my window.
100 Rejections: I have received my first rejection (the first one within the scope of this project, that is). It was from The Sun, not The New Yorker. I am very glad they rejected the piece as now I have had the chance to significantly improve it. I haven’t submitted anything else recently because of trying to finish the book so I’m sitting at 4 total submissions, 1 rejection, no publication.
I’ve started a separate list to track the things I ask for where rejection is possible but that are not a submission of writing for publication. I sent a letter to the literary estate of E.B. White asking to include a quote of his in my book. And I also applied to join The Author’s Guild as an “Emerging Writer.” There was an actual application and you had to answer questions about your plans and publications. You pay a fee to join, so I imagine they are somewhat lenient in expectations in my particular category, but I got in! I’m officially, as of March 7, 2019, a member of The Authors Guild. I have a membership card and everything.
The Stuffed Project is still underway with numerous almost shareable thoughts particularly about Valentine’s Day and the various cultural practices by which we commemorate the births of our children.
Last thing for today, below is the conclusion or final chapter of the upcoming book:
The end of book the first
April 2, 2019
Four years ago I walked outside to buy a sandwich to eat at my desk in my windowless office. Not pregnant, I was wearing maternity pants although my son, my youngest child, was almost two years old. When I arrived back to my desk, I wrote a few paragraphs, my own thoughts that, for once, insisted on taking form.
Today, I’m sitting at home. I ate lunch, some reheated leftovers, hastily at my desk where I can see the buds on the dogwood outside of my window, almost ready to open. I’m wearing my hoody sweatshirt and sweatpants, the same ones depicted on the front cover of this book. The sun is shining.
Nothing has changed.
I’m not a published author. I haven’t finished a novel. I haven’t figured out a master plan, I haven’t found a pot of money, I still feel scared every time I share my words.
Everything has changed.
I have allowed space, I have listened, I have asked for help, I have studied, I have done what scares me anyway, I have sat uncomfortably and waited, I have practiced, and I have learned.
Later this month I am singing, I have a two-hour show at a local bar with a band. We practice every week on Tuesdays after the kids are in bed.
I’ve submitted my writing and received my first rejection. I am practicing every day.
I’m trying to love the world that is. I’m trying not to hide.
I see that I was confused by the certificates. I thought I needed permission. I thought approval provided some guarantee.
This book, the one you are reading that is now at its end, was not the plan. Having read this far, you won’t be surprised to know that there wasn’t a plan. But compiling and publishing all of this introspection was not what I would have imagined as my first big splash (or tiny ripple) into the world of letters.
If I had not lost (most of) the novel, things would be different. But I did lose it. And that led me to a sad but resolute place. And that led to a conversation with my husband about finishing things. And that led to a decision to finish something. And that led to telling a lot of people I was going to publish this book. And that led to revisiting all of these words, and considering them as a whole. And that led to a few minor revelations. And that led to more conversations and questions about why I had not yet taken action to share my writing in the usual ways. And that led to exploring the usual ways to share writing, and to submitting my work for publication, and to more writing, and reading, and waiting, and learning. I believe the novel will be better for all of this. I hope, one day, to say many useful things beautifully and with humor.
But now here I am, with a book all about myself, ready to share with any living human who decides to open the cover.
I can tell you, that’s a scary place to be.
This is why people write novels. And fiction. And non-fiction about things other than themselves. This is why diaries are published when people are dead and why memoirs are told in hindsight, sharing what you want to share, rather than your often tortured and sometimes embarrassing inner thoughts.
But its done. This is what I have made, what I’ve finished. So now it is time to share it. Time to place my intention in the vast ocean of possibility and allow the universe to work through me.
And then I will be ready to make what is next.