If you’ve had a baby or a wedding, do you remember the weeks after The Big Event? When the presents had all been put away, the thank you cards written and all that was left was… regular life? And this big event, which you thought would somehow tinge the atmosphere a certain brighter color, suddenly became just another day that had happened?
I’m feeling a bit of that right now.
Last week was a beautiful whirlwind. My book – blessed object about which I have dreamed my whole life – is finally out in the world. And it is beautiful beyond measure, with a lovely matte cover and creamy smooth pages. When you take off the dust jacket, there, hidden, embossed on the spine for just the most curious to find, is the title and a single name – my name – made to look so solid and real. I did it. I wrote it. It’s out living its independent life, much as a child would.
And the reception has been lovely too. Reviews have been heartwarming and amazing. Word of mouth seems good. Last night I got perhaps the coolest tweet I’ve gotten yet, not from a book blogger or a reviewer, but a regular reader. She tweeted me, “I just finished your book. Do you still hate lentils?” A small little nod from a total stranger to let me know she had plucked out a small detail from my tale and waved at me in recognition. If you’ve read the book, you get the reference. (The answer, by the way, is yes).
So people are reading, reviewers are reviewing, and life is humming along as it does post-book release, I suppose. Now that I’m back home from my whirlwind trip to Tinseltown and don’t have another book event for a couple of weeks, I can’t help but think, “Is this it?”
I have so many questions. In no particular order:
How will I know if the book is a success or not? When will I know that?
What if no one else ever reads it or writes about it?
Have I done enough to promote it? Should I do more?
Has it made a difference to anyone? And will it?
The answer that comes from the writerly folk is that now is the time to write the next one. And I have two actively in the works and a bunch of others tugging at my heart for time and attention. But I never let go that easily. I never deal well with unanswered questions and open-ended scenarios. I want to know. I want to know where this book, this child of mine, will stand in the world. I want to know I’ve done right by it. I am beginning to understand that I will never fully know, that there may always be a bit of wondering. And I know that’s a lesson for so many aspects of life – do your best, then let go and hope that what’s supposed to happen will. Never an easy one for a girl with trust issues.
Be well, book of mine. I know you’re on your own now, but I still want to hug you close and know every little thing that happens to you.