They say launching a book is like having a baby.
They are wrong about that.
Because blood, that's why. And pain. And your mom pacing anxiously outside the door to the maternity ward because the nurses had been SO RIDICULOUSLY CONFIDENT that yours was going to be a brief labor — so confident they even talked you into letting the goddamn epidural run out, rather than refilling the bag — and now it's been 30 minutes (THIRTY FREAKING MINUTES!) and no adult has come out of the room yet, and no baby has cried, and your mom is going to have a full-on panic attack if they don't open that door, like, now.
Launching a book is not like that.
Then again, if you look at the whole thing a little more poetically and a little less literally — goddamn poets, always making things so not literal — it is kind of like having a baby.
Because I made it, that's why. And because so much anticipation goes into the darn thing.
Looking back on it, I'm not sure which scared me more — the idea of childbirth or bookbirth. The gestation period was certainly a shit-lot longer for the book. Four years! Which even my kid will tell you is a dumb amount of time to work on any one project, much less a writing project. "It takes me, like 15 minutes to write a book!" she once told me. "TRY HAVING A BABY!" I wanted to yell. But didn't. Because that would have been completely irrelevant, that's why.
Publishing a book is daunting. You have to stop writing it, for one. You have to be okay with it not being even in the vicinity of perfect. You have to be willing to handle negative reviews and deal with rejection gracefully and bravely put yourself out there in a hundred-thousand different ways. You also have to speak in public. That's the part that made me want to not finish writing this book more than just about anything. (In that way, the possibility of success scared me even more than the possibility of failure.) I even considered joining Toastmasters but ultimately decided I was more of a trial-by-fire gal. I'm still not over my fear of public speaking, but the fire is starting to burn, and I haven't run for the hills yet — so that's something.
Publishing a book is pretty exciting, too, of course. I don't, like, sit around staring at my book or anything — the way I did ALL THE TIME after Maxine was born — but holding the thing in my hand still has a surreal dream-like quality that I enjoy quite a lot. I built this damn thing, sentence by sentence, word by word, letter by letter. And despite all the things I should have done better or differently... or faster ... it is mine, it is done and I am proud.
Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of telling you about my launch party! If you're interested, and in the Long Beach area, you are welcome join me March 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Apostrophe Books, 5229 E. Second St., in Long Beach.
Just don't forget to tell me how beautiful my book is while you're there.