So, first the truly exciting news. Today, on what would have been my grandmother Dick's 101st birthday, a podcast of me reading excerpts from The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani and being interviewed by the lovely and talented Ilana Masad has been posted as Episode 57 of The Other Stories! So for all of you who have heard me talk about this book for Years, you can finally hear some of it - plus hear me natter on about its creation. Ilana is a really wonderful interviewer, so she made me feel smart and important. I also sound like, well, me...so don't worry.
I want to use this post, too, just to say some words - not too many - about process.
I finished the revised draft of the book in August. I began sending it to others to read and queries to agents and such. In this process, I revisited the book, made some slight adjustments, then made a big structural adjustment and now am thinking of maybe returning to something closer to the original - which doesn't mean the other time was wasted.
The point here being - this is a long process. Anyone who has already written a book through to publications knows this and is Laughing at me. That's OK. I understand. I was ignorant before. Now, I see.
I have to believe - lest I lose my mind in part - that all of this time and adjusting and readjusting etc. is worth it. Who knows, the form my change yet again.
The larger point is that I need to allow this process to take the time it needs and not "push the river" as Everyone I knew in the 1970s (parental like - you Know Who You Are) said. I find this at times frustrating, because I want a Finished Product. I want to See a Book on a Shelf and point to it and say: Hey Look I Did That!
And one day - I will.
In the meantime, I need to allow it to take the time it is taking (without tinkering forever either - the balance also important)...
And understand - and this is the hardest part - that it's not going to Save me.
I haven't written much this month because April 15 was the 9th anniversary of my miscarriage, the day after the wedding to my now-ex husband. As many of you know, I announced the pregnancy at the wedding, because I was 12 weeks along. Thought I was safe. Wasn't.
I bring that up in this context, because I've had to face this month the fact that some part of me thought this book - the completion and hopefully selling and publishing of this book - would redeem this experience somehow - or somehow make up for the fact I don't have children.
I think this is part of the process, too. Understanding that. Because if I don't understand that before the book gets published, I will be in for a very steep fall. I do understand it intellectually, but as a friend of mine used to say ruefully "insight is the booby prize of the universe" and right she was.
I can "understand" something all day long, but until my body, soul, heart and Everything understands it, it don't mean a thing - just another idea on the clever-train...no thing.
So, this process is loooong for so many reasons.
A book, giving birth to one (yes I use that phrase advisedly), is a naked process. Unlike a child, the thing is from you and will always be attached to you - you will be blamed or praised for it - alone. Unlike a child, it won't grow into its own person. But, like a child, it does need to leave me at some point and have its own life with others. OK, I have strained this metaphor to death (happily not a real child!)
But in all seriousness, the sad and real part is: it won't save me. That's not its job.
As a referee for a residency to which I applied wrote I am "tantalizingly close" to being done. But I need to breathe and allow this journey to take its course.
Thank you so much all who have ridden with me. I so appreciate everyone's support, encouragement, time, energy, contributions and care.
I am just getting over a nasty cold so not going to go further now. But hope you enjoy the podcast!
And here's some lovely photos of Dick from the early 1930s...Happy Birthday again! I wish you were here to see this, even though you'd probably be pretty horrified to be getting this much attention (...though secretly, I think you'd enjoy it!)
|(L) Dick w/George in Milford, CT & (R) Dick w/friends in Seymour, CT|