Today is a special day.
It’s release day for a book.
MY book. In fact, my FIRST book.
And that means today is the first day I consider myself an “author.”
No, don’t argue that I was as much an author yesterday as today because, whether or not that statement is true (for me or for anyone), it’s not how I choose to tell my tale. You see, I believe in the power of rituals, the incredible freeing magic of gateway experiences.
Today, I step through a door. And the view from here is … exhilarating. Right here and right now. Before I’ve sold a single copy.
I won’t embarrass myself with the story of how long it took to get here. Life is a quilt of many passions and infinite roads. I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. And even now, writing is not something I must do or go mad. But when I’m writing a story and it’s flowing well, when the muse whispers in my ear her tangled tales of hearts who must be brave or be broken, I feel a kind of eager contented joy. In that flow of emotions and words and serendipitous juxtapositions, I’m home. It’s like sitting in a movie theater waiting for a show you know will turn you inside out; and you just can’t wait for it to start.
At first, like so many others, I pushed myself to get an agent and publish the “real way.” I’m big into pieces of paper that say I’m official. But my attempts were always awkward and half-hearted at best. It took me a lot of soul-searching to figure out why. And it wasn’t until I finally sat down with myself and delved into what it was I wanted to “get” out of this endeavor that my creative life started to go in a positive direction and brought me here.
I was reading the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) and a lot of what she said resonated with me. I highly recommend the book to all creative souls (which is everyone). When she talked about the complex emotions of putting your art out into the world, I realized I’d hit pay dirt. This was it. This was my problem. It wasn’t whether I had writing talent or had learned enough “craft” to not embarrass myself. It wasn’t even the spotty nature of my confidence in the stories themselves. My whole resistance lay in putting the stories OUT THERE.
And then she wrote something that changed me. I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail.” Well Ms. Gilbert pointed out that this is less helpful than it could be. The better question to ask is: “What would you do if you knew you WOULD fail?”
Yep, you read that right. “What would you do if you knew you would fail?” In other words, what would you do regardless of the outcome? What would you do just for the doing of it?
Remember that joy I mentioned, the delight of being in the flow of a story in the making? I realized that THAT is something I want to spend time doing – win or lose. The creative fun of “making good art” (as Neil Gaiman calls it) is a large part of why I write.
The other part? I want to share the excitement and escape of a good story. I want to find connection with lovely people I haven’t met yet. How wonderful it would be to have a handful of “fans” who enjoy reading the stories I enjoy writing. What a dream come true! That part, of course, is not in my control. It’s the part all artists hope for when we put something out there, but fear of not having it shouldn’t stop us. It’s icing on the cake, and I bet it’s chocolate.
And so today is the day I cross that line. Today is the day I actually put something I crafted Out There for others to enjoy if they wish. I had a blast writing this story and I hope you have fun reading it. And now that I’ve done it once, regardless of the reception Son of Anubis receives, I really want to do it again.
I hear fantastical tales rolling around in my head wanting their turn. The muse wants to make something new with me, so sign me up. But more on that later this year.