|Figure 1. The book I wrote that just came out. It's totally okay if we don't talk about it, though.|
Last week, my second book came out.
It was kind of a busy week.
I went to a conference and talked to librarians. I hosted a launch party. I taped a reading for a radio program. I had lunch with my editor and we gossiped and I signed giveaway books for him to send out. I tweeted and Facebooked and Tumblr'd and blogged. I signed books and emailed a million details and thanked lots of people for their help and support.
And now I'm up in remote Wisconsin, on a little island in Lake Superior, being with nobody and talking to no one and having a little writing retreat for a week. Though preparing and packing up to get here took some planning and work, goddamn am I glad to be alone.
Still, I wish I knew what to say. I'm pretty jangled. It's lovely up here. Here is what's on my mind.
13 Ways of Looking At Your Book Release
1) Having read and talked and listened to many people about writing and publishing and tips and advice and process for quite a while now, I'm not convinced I have anything worthwhile to add. Like, my process isn't that interesting. Neither are the guiding principles that I follow in my own writing. I mean, they're important to me, and all, but they could change, you know. Or maybe not? And plus, a lot of people do the same stuff, but they're more eloquent about explaining it. And I have a lot of bad habits, too. And talking about writing just reminds me of the bad habits. So who am I to talk like I know shit? *sighs for 15 minutes*
2) There is nothing I can do about the book that just came out. It's done. It's packaged and sent out. It's got typos; people tell me about them and I report them to my publisher, who will hopefully scrub them out for the paperback. If there is a paperback. Who knows? That is also nothing I can control.
3) Mostly I'm looking at photos of myself at the launch party and being aghast. Dear god, why did I wear that? can I never take a good picture? shall I choose to believe that my face is just so expressive that it's impossible to capture in a pose that's not heinous?
4) This week, I need to start writing the next book.
5) The next book I can do something about. Maybe? I hope? I don't even know what it's about. Well, I kinda know. I think.
6) The next book is so pristine and perfect. It isn't yet marked up by missteps and failure and half-baked ideas that needed fixing. It's supple and lean and comely. I want to bury my face in its possibility.
7) Sometimes I just want to watch television. I really like television, you guys.
8) Sometimes I just want to read other books that I've been meaning to read. So many other writing tasks suck up all my mental energy and by the time I get into bed to crack them open, I'm unable to engage with anything.
9) Goddamn do I need to get my running practice started up again! I'm not sleeping well, I feel logy and depressive, and I hate how I look in photographs. Have I mentioned I hate being photographed? The lapses in routine that editing and promotion cause are understandable. But I've always been a creature of habit and the more routine I have, the happier I am (and the better I sleep).
10) I'm teaching a class on the YA Novel. As often happens with teaching, I'm bumping up against the limits of my own expertise and understanding. It's humbling, to explain to others how things work, only to be spinning along in one's exposition and realize..."Wait! Not really. Hmm. Let's think about this, Carrie..." This is a good thing, because it helps me learn more about what I already know. But it also makes me doubt that I know what I'm doing. It feels like trying skateboard while wearing stilts.
11) Have I mentioned my house is being remodeled? Extensively, down to the walls, covered in sawdust, all new windows and wiring, our bedrooms and bathrooms in constant upheaval, and this has been going on for over a year now? In the last year, I released my first book, signed with an agent, sold a second book, wrote the second book, sold another two books to a new publisher, started a third book, edited the second book, then edited the third book, and am now starting the fourth one? And my husband started a new job and my daughter started middle school?
12) Lately, I am very aware that I have very few hobbies. I am nervous about being a boring lady with a one-track mind (books, writing, talking about sex, crocheting, discussing television, Norman Reedus' masterful biceps, etc.) and I feel that I need more vectors for adventure. I'm exhausted by the prospect but I loathe the idea of being this newly-40-year-old dud of a human being.
13) But maybe not? I don't know. I'm tired. Can we not talk about this anymore? What have you all been doing lately? I'm tired of being in my head and curious about what the rest of you have going on? I need to know; maybe it'll be some juicy story that'll breed another delicious question that I'll stick in my next book...plus ca change, world without end, round and round it goes.