Thursday, February 22, 2007

Birthing a book

"When my book is out ..." "My book will be out in April," "After the book comes out ... " I find myself saying. I'm now almost through the lengthy, tortuous process of taking something that is IN - a compilation of thoughts, ideas, research, words, structure - and pushing it out. The irony of my particular journey through this process is that the independent life of the book has coincided almost exactly with the independence of my children. The book began to germinate when my daughter was in utero, and continued growing through her life and that of my son; he told me once that when I went to work on the book, he felt I was going to tend to his little brother. Now my daughter is nearly 26, living and working on her own; my son, 22 and six foot eight, is living and working in Australia, and demanding little brother is at last moving out too. (A more accurate analogy would be that I have been pregnant with this book for 26 years and now the birth is imminent, but that is too appalling a thought.)

The plan, now, is to get on with other kinds of writing work. But instead of mulling over my next book, I had this website to get going, and now I'm emailing the book publicist in New York, the publishers in Syracuse, the directors of various book fairs, the friends who are helping to organize the book launch here, contacts who may be able to get "blurbs" from famous people. And there's the pitch I wrote to Steven Spielberg, which a screenwriter friend has promised to get to him. A Balenciaga ballgown from Goodwill hangs in my closet, ready to wear to the Oscars.

Yes, fantasyland. I know that every writer with a book coming out imagines that the world is going to change drastically once the glorious object is in reader's hands - money, interest, commissions will flow in, new work, unleashed by renewed confidence and acclaim, will pour out. And I also know that reality, almost always, does not resemble this. No matter. There will be a big party this spring to celebrate an ending and a beginning. I can't wait for both.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Moving out of the 90's and onto the web

My former Toronto neighbour Tom, who now lives in Laguna Beach and is my webmaster (my, that sounds kinky) emailed last night to say, "Congratulations, the site is now live, you have officially moved out of the 90's." I logged on and there was my sparkling new site. Today I keep checking it as if it might have changed overnight - yes, still there. In fact it did change - my friend Deb, a writer in Newfoundland, added the first post to this blog. I know that to anyone under 30 my excitement at all this is absurd - I who have no cell-phone, have never downloaded a song and don't know how an iPod can hold so many songs when it is so very small. And how do they all get in there?

But I have managed to move out of the 90's. Woo hoo!

Here's today's message for writers, from a review by A.O.Scott in the NYTimes Book Review of Alice Munro's latest:
"The point of storytelling, as Munro practices it, is to rescue the literal facts from banality, from oblivion, and to preserve - to create - some sense of continuity in the hectic ebb and flow of experience. 'We can't resist this rifling around in the past,' she writes in an epilogue, 'sifting the untrustworthy evidence, linking stray names and questionable dates and anecdotes together, hanging on to threads, insisting on being joined to dead people and therefore to life.'"

Happy Valentine's Day. L'chaim to you all. To life.