Monday, January 25, 2016
Because I always forget. I always forget when I am writing my books—happily writing my books, lost in my books, compelled and impelled by the making of books—that at some point along the way the book that is privately mine will no longer be private or, even, mine. It will be an object to be dismissed or discussed, dissed or shared. It will have very little to do with me, except that it is all of me, a part of me, an emanation of my heart, a hope.
Time and again, I have told myself that I can quit, that there are other ways, that the book biz is too cruel a biz (too tilted, unfair, overly made; too much about the in-crowd and the out-crowd; too forced a spectacle). And then: There I go, back to the couch with some paper and a pen because I cannot help myself, because I am most at peace while writing, because the stories demand to be told, because I somehow forget how being published feels, because books themselves aren't the problem here; it's the selling of books, which is different. I'm not a brand. I'm not a platform. I'm not a trend. I don't know how to be those things. I don't really have any business doing what I'm doing, except: writing is who I am.
Reviews are subjective. Of course. Every reader is a market of one. Absolutely. I religiously do not Google myself, search for reviews, seek Big Attention. I am, every single time, stunned when generous words find their way to me.
And—yes—unspooled when the less generous comes knocking, too.
I have been trying hard not to think (in a real way) about the upcoming launch of This Is the Story of You. I have no readings planned, no book-specific appearances, no celebration party, no whirlwind. Still, I realized this snowy weekend, that the angst of the book's release lives loud in me. That I care more than I should about how it will be received. That—especially because Story is so much about the world we live in now, this world of storms and environmental shifts and (still) love and need—I want it to succeed. I want it to find the right readers. I want them to love my Mira Banul and her brother, Jasper Lee, and her friends, and that beach. I want them to think about our world, the sand, the wind, the rising seas.
I write all of this because early this morning, 4 AM, when I woke to work on the first flight of student assignments, I was alerted a flurry of tweets about Story.
A very early reader speaks.
I am embarrassed by how much this means to me. But it means so much to me.