The doorbell rang just as we were getting ready for dinner. Doug went to answer it as I was taking out the plates. A delivery. I knew what it was even before he started whooping.
I continued setting out the plates even when he came into the kitchen, waving the parcel about madly. “Do you know what it is?” he asked excitedly. I did, but it might as well have been an Amazon order of tennis socks for all the emotion I was mustering. A slip of the knife, and there they were, exposed to the air and for all the world to see:
I could barely bring myself to take one of the manuscripts out. I willed my heart to pound at a more measured beat. I may have felt a bit nauseated. The truth is, joy has never been an easy emotion for me. There is rarely a moment of happiness that does not seem to me to have a second shoe attached, ready to smash down at a moment’s notice. So I let my joy unspool slowly and quietly over the next few hours. I have only now dared to open the “uncorrected bound manuscript” and look inside. My editor, Sara Goodman, had warned me that they would not be pretty, that future galleys would look much more designed.
But I have to say: they look beautiful to me.
These copies, a few months before the actual book launch, are for a very specific function—I need to get them to literary fiction and/or graphic novel authors who may say a few kind words about my book for publicity’s sake. It’s all about the blurbs. They start the buzz going. So far, I have been lucky enough to have two writers I have long admired agree to read it: Diana Wagman
(The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets) and Noel Alumit
(Letters to Montgomery Clift). My editor at St. Martin’s, of course, has a few other names up her sleeve. My dream roster would also include Alison Bechdel, Michael Chabon or Lynda Barry— if anyone out there are BFF’s of theirs, let me know!
On my nightly walk with the dog, all the plants seemed to glow in the moonlight, bending upwards with anticipation. Three blocks from my house I swear I saw a deer (though it may have been my Patronus) bounding up my street. Life, at this moment, seems very alive with possibility.