The Books

How are you?

A weird thing about me is that I feel less lonely. I’ve been mad at the unfairness of the world since I was ten years old, and now it seems the whole world is with me. I told you!

I haven’t put in nearly as much time here, partly because I’ve been working on publishing some books. I’ve spent a great deal of time agent-seeking, and workshop attending, and though I did have interest from agents several times, nothing ever panned out.

This made me feel like a failure.

It has been my primary goal in life to have a book published.

The last time I really worked hard at this, I went to a conference in New York City. Most of my group were enjoying Manhattan and the conference. I was trying to stay awake, and not have so many panic attacks.

I made one great friend at the conference, and I had more people say, “This is good. You can get this out there.”

But then, I didn’t.

It was cold comfort that friends with good books often didn’t get agents, and people I knew to have books I never would read had published their books.

I had attempted to figure out an online publishing platform in the past, but got frustrated.

Whether it’s middle age, mid-life crisis, or anxiety, I’ve had much less energy the last few years. I’ve felt like I need to budget myself even more carefully.

I was so afraid that I would go through all this work– writing the pieces took years, years, and the publishing stuff took days– and then only my mom would buy a copy.

My mom would always buy a copy. If she had the dough, she’d buy 1,000 of them in secret.

Like all artists, I’ve had some surprise successes and many, many, many painful rejections. The main thing I love about this blog is that it’s totally my creation. Although I will not put anything up if I think it isn’t useful or beautiful, it’s a wonderful way to get my writing out in a lower-stakes situation.

I’m pretty much over the fact that I was not DISCOVERED by SOMEONE POWERFUL who PLUCKED ME FROM OBSCURITY, a la “Julie and Julia.”

Pretty much.

It has given me a chance to share work with a larger audience, especially with people who might have some things in common with me that don’t come up in casual conversation.

When I did announce I was publishing the books, I was so heartened. Many friends let me know they were excited to buy one. Many people congratulated me. Because my only goals were to stop hating myself for not publishing a book, and to have someone other than my mom buy a copy, I can now say it’s been a success.

I had been so embarrassed of self-publishing, thinking that it would prove the world did not want to listen to me. But this was not a helpful story. I know that plenty of “successful” writers feel like no one wants to listen to them. I know it’s not really about that.

If it were not for pandemic, I probably would not have had the time or energy to do all the book prep. Trying to make that lemonade. During pandemic, there are so many reasons to be depressed, pessimistic. Finally there was a day I thought, I’m going to try this again, just for like a minute, and then I got sucked into the long process.

It’s one less thing to feel bad about.

It’s also been a little money in my pocket, WHICH I DO NOT MIND AT ALL. I hate Big Internet Company, but they do make my work available, and I make like $7 a book.

I think the last time I got paid for writing was when I wrote a piece of art criticism, around 2008.

Well, I have been paid to write some curriculum materials.

Anyway, this is all to say thank you for reading, and to let you know the books are available. The creative exercises have not been published anywhere in their entirety, and neither has the novel, but fair warning, the teaching memoir is built from posts I originally posted here.

I have a new cat, a gift from a student. And I have enough work to get by. I wish you calmness and steadiness and patience in living through so much grief.

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