So. There's This Book. With the Word "Amalah" On It.
May 15, 2008
After I got my share of the book advance, I went out and pumped myself a full tank of premium gasoline, and then I stopped at Wendy's for a chocolate Frosty and a small order of fries.
And that was the end of the book advance money.
Every once in awhile it occurs to me that I will at some point be holding a book in my hands that contains words that I wrote, and the first emotion that sweeps over me is complete and utter terror, because words on paper are very different than words on a computer monitor, and quite honestly I usually feel my words are better suited for the latter.
I don't remember exactly which entries appear in the book -- Rita (who made this whole thing happen, start to finish, I think I signed a piece of paper along the way and then got right back to the vitally important business of wiping a butt) asked if I'd be okay with her submitting a couple entries from Noah's newborn days and I just sort of...waved my hand in the direction of the archives and told her to have at it. Like I've said many times before, re-reading my own writing seriously gives me hives.
I remember going back and expanding on her semi-final picks, rewording some of the more inelegant prose, trying to make them more "stand-alone thoughtful essay" and less "blawg blawggity blawg that I blawgged with one hand while attached to the breast pump."
I remember when I wrote the original entries, though. I remember how shockingly thin-skinned and vulnerable I was, how terrified I was of the depth of emotions I felt towards my new little baby, and how frustrated I was that I couldn't ever seem to find the right words to describe it all.
Thus, if you are so kind as to order yourself a copy of the book, be prepared for some mighty fine hand-wringing and new-mother neuroses and oh! MAH BAYBEEEE! I JUST LOVEHIMSOMUUUUUUCH! The good news is that they applied some professional-type editing, so perhaps my writing will contain a better punctuation-to-word-count ratio.
Then again, Rita never doubted that my words and the words of other bloggers belonged in this book, on paper and everything, and the story of how hard she worked to make this happen is inspiring to me in more ways than one.
I had a literary agent, once. A lovely, patient and experienced agent who wanted nothing more than to help me write and publish my first novel. I had an idea, a plot and an outline. She cheered me on and told me to get up on that bitch and start writing.
And so I did. And then I froze. Not more than 20 pages in. I hated it. I hated everything about it. I went back and rewrote chapter one so many times I'm not sure I ever even made it out of chapter two. The characters were all wrong. The dialogue was stilted and the pacing was atrocious. The story got lost as I skipped ahead to the rejection letters and terrible reviews and ultimate placement in a secondhand store's bargain bin, a pulpy testament to why bloggers shouldn't get book deals. The agent stopped bothering to email me, and I've since lost the early drafts I wrote to a busted hard drive.
When Rita asked for my entries for a book SHE was putting together, that SHE would pitch and sell and bear the brunt of rejection and criticism, I had nothing to lose. Why not? It probably won't happen, anyway, but it's worth a shot, eh. I signed on to contribute but was certainly never a big shiny ray of optimism about it. I am not really a writer. Blogging does not translate. I only have readers because of dumb luck and a lot of workplace boredom. Rar rar rar ur cerebral cortex thinks u suck!
And yet, here we are. Some stuff I wrote made it into a book. Along with the writing of many other
bloggers writers from all over the pageview map. It's available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers. Maybe one day I'll stop cringing long enough to actually read it. In
the meantime, I guess this means I can stop trying to explain
"blogging" to my dad.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go wipe that butt again.