I thought I knew how I was going to feel. Why wouldn’t I? I’d imagined this day ever since the journey began, and that’s nine years ago. This was no personal, never-to-publish, cathartic work. I’d just finished one of those. In June 2004, when I took the first timid steps into The Corridor, I dreamed that one day others---you even---might read the story. And then, best of all, maybe you and your friends and I could chat about it. People person that I am, that’s what I was most looking forward to. Intimate gatherings. I imagined (almost) nothing would feel better.
But today, when Amazon first posted my Kindle book,
followed soon after by the paperback,
I felt…well…I didn’t really feel anything. I’m trying, digging down for those feelings that must be there. But I have yet to unearth them.
Maybe I’m scared, I told myself. Maybe readers will freak out. Here I am, naked before the world. The Corridor fleshed out a part of me that I let few see. Or maybe no one will read it. Or worse yet, readers won’t react. Perhaps I’ll have no long-anticipated conversations.
Nah! That’s not it. I’m not scared. I’m the gold medal winner in fear recognition.
Maybe I’m overwhelmed. Too much, too fast. I mean it was just today that Amazon said, “how about publishing a Kindle version”. So I rebuilt all the Corridor maps, and the formatting, uploaded, set a $0.99 tantalizing price and pressed the publish button. And then, I get this text from Linda saying my book’s on Amazon and I think she means Kindle but when I check---wading through a backwash of books with Corridor in the title---its Kindle AND the $14.24 paperback. Yes, I’m stunned.
But I’m not overwhelmed.
Believe it or not I think I’m sad. It makes no sense whatsoever—I feel so relieved to be done with writing and re-writing all seven versions and editing and copyediting and proofing and self-publishing---but truth is I feel grief. It’s over. By far the biggest project in my life and it’s over. At least this part of it. So I guess that’s OK. Whether it makes sense or not, I can let myself grieve. Out on the prairie maybe, with the breathtaking lupine. Probably not with a smoking hot chainsaw.
My mom called today to tell me how much she liked the book (she qualified for the Mother’s Day galley copy) and said I should keep writing. As appreciative as I was, I could feel her disappointment when I responded with a sigh. “If people really like it, I’ll write another. Some day.” I told her. “Right now, I want to reap the harvest.”
So yes, read the book if you're drawn to it. And then---please, please, please---invite me to a conversation. With your book club. Your church. Your beer buddies. Your school. I could spend hours with just you and a cup of tea. Don’t let distance daunt you. I love Santa Rosa. Galway. Even Wisconsin. And there’s always Skype.
Thinking about a conversation with you, now that starts to get me excited.
P.S. If nothing else, you’ll finally figure out what Rah-dur means when you read it.