Saturday, November 28, 2009

what's really going on

I posted before, hot water bottle clenched to my abdomen, sudafed making me racy and anxious, about how I had nothing to say. That's not true. I have plenty to say, but wish beyond wishes I wasn't feeling any of this to need to say it. The crashing part was true. The exhaustion. The hitting the wall. It's been an intense few weeks—nothing like I've ever gone through before. But the reality is that I'm petrified FLOW's peaked and we're on the downslide. It was a lovely peak. Fabulous book launch party, great press, people loving the book—such enthusiasm from both people I'm close to and people I don't know. I had a moment or two and will carry those with me forever.

But that's not nearly enough. I'm not a live-in-memories sort of person. I don't collect things (except coats, which are exceedingly functional). Last week Izzy had to write a paper for school, about an irreplaceable object. She had trouble thinking of one. I did too. I don't invest emotion or energy in objects. They're nice to have, within reason, but I'm a minimalist at heart. And memories too—it's lovely to look back at a moment, smile, bask in the glow, but they don't sustain you.

I want more moments. More events to look forward to. More interviews. More reviews. More conversation. More guarantees that it'll be ok in the end. I mean, of course it'll be ok in the end. I've already achieved more with this book than all the others I've done put together. Well, not quite. I did dozens and dozens of radio interviews for CHUNKS. Heard more vomit stories than any one person should. 2 of my books made it onto Entertainment Weekly's Must Have list. One was featured at DailyCandyKids. Those small mentions sent sales skyrocketing, at least for a few hours. But, no one's written anything about FLOW in a week. Trust me, I know. I'm constantly checking. The publisher sent out tons of review books. I saw stacks of them at The Strand, press releases untouched, tucked inside. They're selling for $14 folks, signed, at a gift table downstairs. How soon until they're on a dollar table outside?

But, I have to fight putting all this negative energy into the world. Or internalizing it so that my stomach aches and my teeth clench. This is one of those times I wish I had blind faith. Could believe in the best and hold on to those thoughts until the actualize. Or work at them until things actually happen. Maybe that's what my work is right now. This very second. This quiet Thanksgiving weekend. To accept where I am, who I am and be ok with that. To not imagine disaster and disappointment in the future, but sit with the unknown.

Not easy, not comfortable. But that's what is right now.


Lisa Adams said...

I shouldn't presume to offer advice. I haven't had any of the success you have had in publishing. But I have had my share of knocks, and setbacks, and many moments of not only self-doubt, but also doubt that I'd be alive to see another year, another project.

What do I think? I think being mired in what WAS is dangerous. Gotta look forward, gotta look to what's next. Gotta focus on the thing which excites your soul. Don't know what that is, maybe you do.

If you do, that is your gift, that is your hope, that is your life preserver in this storm.

The danger of writing, like any other artistic enterprise is that the popularity of projects will rise and fall. What isn't transient is the heart and soul of the person who put it there. You are the key to finding the next project, and when you are excited about that, your focus will naturally readjust. You are setting the bar so high that it would be nearly impossible to achieve. It may be a setup for disappointment... and that can't turn out well, even if you actually get everything you hope for...

I hope you will be at peace soon with this unsettled feeling. The harder you chase it, the more elusive it might be... you shouldn't ever give up, but if it causes pain, you should always allow yourself to readjust. xoxo

Jeremy said...

All I can say is "ditto, what she said" regarding Lisa Adams' post.