On Saturday, June 17, 2017, my book, “Thread and Other Stories,” became a reality. It has seemed like such a long time in coming. Not just that it takes a long time to write a book (years in my case), but also because I finished writing it three months ago and it has seemed like forever to get from that point to this one.
And now, on the other side of publishing, it is as if I’m looking down into a valley that I can’t see the other side of—I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but I’m already heading onward—it’s too late to stop anyway. I have two conflicting emotions that I have been trying to control for quite some time. The first is the fear that I will fail. The second is the hope that I will succeed. Some of the failure that I feared is impossible now, the failure of not ever finishing.
I’m sure every writer has the hope that I mentioned inside of them as well. They try to ignore the hope and suppress it out of fear that they might jinx it, if such a thing can even happen. This little hope is that their book—that their book—is the book. They hope it is the NY Times #1 bestseller, Harry Potter part II, or whatever incredible book you can imagine. I feel that, but I don’t want to admit it. Would I love that? Of course. Do I honestly think it will happen? No. But then again, you never know, do you?
Whether that will happen for my book or not I don’t know. Honestly, I didn’t write it for that reason anyway. I think I had two reasons of my own for writing. The first is that although I wrote it with the hope of success and widespread distribution in the back of my mind, the practical thing that kept me sitting down every night of every day for all those months and years is because I wanted to find out if I could do it. I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. And I found out. I did it.
And then the second reason is that I wanted to share what I had. I wanted to share my thoughts and my ideas in the best way I could. I did not want to live my life wondering what might have been. That is a question we can never answer if we do not act.
I also wrote this book for the reader, hopefully you reading this blog being among them. I wanted to write something that would entertain you. There are some themes, and messages, and symbolism in what I wrote if you are interested or want to look for it. But you don’t have to do that to enjoy it. More important than all of that is there are stories that I wanted to make engaging and interesting. I wanted you to love reading what I wrote. I don’t know yet if I did it, but I hope so.
Writing is personal, and I have read a lot of quotes from authors that claim they are writing for themselves. Which is partially true…probably. But it’s not completely true. It’s probably not even mostly true. Every word I wrote and every character I developed was for the future reader—for you. I thought about how you would interpret what I put down. I wondered if you would see what I was trying to say. I wondered if it was too obvious or too obscure. I wondered if you would care like I did. I wondered if you would “get it.”
If you do get it, if you do enjoy it, if you do connect with someone or something I created, then I think I succeeded. I don’t think anything would mean more to me than for someone to tell me that something I wrote resonated with them—that it meant something to them. For me, that is my hope as an author.
Now, I want you to forget I just wrote for a second, because I need to say this next part. I learned something on Saturday night, June 17, 2017: I have wonderful friends. I posted my announcement on Facebook. I gave no fair warning to anyone, I didn’t build up to it at all, and very few people expected such a thing from me. But in spite of that, the responses from friends were amazing. Whether I sell any books or not, that moment meant a lot to me. I guess I shouldn’t have expected less than that, I know some great people, but it meant a lot to me.
I was talking to one friend the day after about a lot of what I have just written about, and while discussing all of this I told him that I was only afraid of one thing. It wasn’t negative feedback, it wasn’t if no one liked it, or if no one bought it. The thing I was most afraid of was silence. What if no one said anything? What if no one ever knew or cared that I had done this?
What I found out on Saturday night was that no matter what happens from here on out—with book sales, reviews (if any), comments or lack thereof, or any other response—the people I know the best and that mean the most to me cared. They made something that was important to me important to them and they let me know it. That meant a lot to me and I am grateful for it.