Friday, July 13, 2012
Between that day and this one, I have been buoyed by readers and friends, by an agent and editors, by good-hearted bloggers and students, and of course by family in this strange but essential writing dream. I have written odd books (a river speaks in one, corporate America is transformed into a Wonderland in another), "small" books, books that might have been more than they were and books that reached more readers than I thought possible. I have kept writing because I can't help it, because it is, as I have said before, medicinal, because even when I tried to stop, I didn't know how stopping worked. What does a life look like without story making and sentence crafting, without reaching and metaphor? I don't know. I don't want to find out.
Over the past few weeks, extraordinary kindnesses have been shown toward Small Damages, a book that I had worked on for many, many years. Kindness within Philomel, that publishing phenom that has gifted me with the talents and deep hearts of my editor Tamra Tuller (do I love her? yes, I do), Michael Green (president and (also) writer of some of the best emails ever), Jessica Shoffel (publicist extraordinary—unbelievably smart and quick and precise and there), Julia Johnson (who told me once that she has a secret third eye), Jill Santopolo (that uber-bright cutie who forged the original link), a fantastically talented design and editorial team, and an amazingly generous sales team. Kindness from interviewers like Abby Plesser and Dennis Abrams. Kindness from magazine editors like Darcy Jacobs of Family Circle and Renee Fountain of Bella and the super nice people of the LA Times. Kindness from friends and from bloggers, each of whom is so dear to me, so valued. (In case you are wondering, the spectacular quilted cover of Small Damages above was created by blogger and friend, Wendy Robards of Caribousmom.)
That should be enough, truly, but a few days ago, something else happened. The phone rang, and it was my agent, Amy Rennert. Fortunately, I was sitting down, for Amy had called to read me Jen Doll's most amazing review of Small Damages—a review that appears in this weekend's New York Times.
We yearn, as writers, to be understood. We yearn to be read with an open heart. We can't even believe our good fortune when this happens to us in the pages of the Times. When we are read and assessed by one as intelligent and thoughtful as Jen Doll.
I have always loved the Times. Today I love Her even more than always and forever.
There are no words.
A final note: I have been typing this blog post with fumbling fingers, and I'm quite sure that I have erred somewhere up there. But my fumbling became a trembling when Jillian Cantor sent word that Publishers Weekly had named Small Damages among this week's best new books.