On December 30, 2019 I sent my book proposal to BCC Press and was shocked to hear back the very next day that they were interested in publishing it. I was originally told it would likely be published in the fall, which was fine with me. I wanted to spend more time with my manuscript, anyway! But then—in case you live under a rock and weren't aware—the world became embroiled in a pandemic and everyone got very busy coping with...life...and supply shortages...and illness...and so forth. So the timeline for publication kept being pushed back and back and back. From August 2020...to October 2020...to January 2021...to...
Honestly, I just stopped asking about it.
And I stopped telling people about it, too, because I never knew what to tell them.
But late December brought a flurry of book publication activity—from cover design to marketing to I-really-need-to-finish-going-over-my-manuscript-one-more-time—and my book is being released on January 4, 2022.
I almost feel a little silly about it, honestly, since the book deals with the intersection of grief over Karen's death and grief over the fleeting nature of motherhood and...though we will forever be grieving Karen (as Andrew Garfield once said
, and which my sister Josie reminded me of today after she finished reading my manuscript, “This is all the unexpressed love, the grief that will remain with us until we pass because we never get enough time with each other, no matter if someone lives till 60, 15, or 99") I have kind of renewed my lease on motherhood, having just had another baby.
I already am finding the "last time" emotions to be difficult, even though I've done them before, so perhaps publishing this book will help me work through them again. And poor Phoebe, of course, isn't mentioned in the book at all. So perhaps I will work on a new set of poems that include her.
Anyway, I'm excited and scared for the book to come out. I've always wanted to be an author. But now that it's come down to it, I'm scared to have anyone read what I've written.
That's why I sent my manuscript to Josie (I needed someone to read it and tell me nice things).
I had a few early readers—author friends and non-author friends alike, all wonderful—who said some very nice things about my book and gave me some helpful ideas on how to make it better (some of which they'll find I implemented—thanks, friends!—and some of which they'll find I ignored—sorry, friends). And I loved the love I got from them and the development that came through talking about my manuscript with them.
But I had one author-acquaintance that I sent my manuscript to who did not have very much to say about my book at all. They didn't say anything mean but I could also tell they were struggling to find anything nice to say. And that was hard and has definitely had me thinking twice about this collection of poems over the past year, but only in the back of my mind because I've had so much else going on and because I wasn't sure my project was ever going to wind its way through the publication pipeline.
But now it has and I'm really nervous about it.
But, just tonight a Twitter friend was talking about the exact topic of my book (the fleeting nature of motherhood and how unprepared I felt for that as a mother) so I feel like while my book definitely won't be for everyone (which no book really is), it will at least be for someone (as all books are). So I'll just have to take a deep breath and let people read it, I guess.
Here's a sneak peek of the cover:
I think it's beautiful! Christian Harrison designed it, Brooke did the sketch of the woman (and the illustrations). Andrew, of course, typeset the inside of the book. I wrote the words.
The words are both accurate and not. Many poems are based on experiences I've had or people I've known. Some experiences are exaggerated or embellished or downplayed or downright imaginary. But largely, I think, the poems are true. They're the truest poems I know (to paraphrase Hemingway).