My book comes out next week. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
While I am over-the-moon about holding the physical product of my labors in my hands, I can honestly say that at this moment, I’m not really screaming or doing a happy dance around my tiny living room with my dogs. I’m actually not expecting anyone but the handful of friends who know about it, my editor, and the unsuspecting businesses where I’m going to unobtrusively leave a copy, to ever even see its stunning pages.
Why? Because I’ve taught myself that Hope is a shifty bitch who can’t be trusted.
When my editor and publisher said she wanted to put out an entire book of my work, I felt her stir. But I shut her down relatively quickly because, while people expressed genuine excitement when I told them I was writing a book, I knew that the thought in most of their minds was, Sure you are, as was evident by that spark in the eye that just should have been there, but wasn’t. I mean, honestly though, I would’ve had the same reaction. And besides, the publishing press, Blind Faith Books, is a beautiful, but small, hometown press. Their last publication, I AM STRENGTH, featured contributors from all over the United States, and so there have been readings in all the major cities, which also equates to sales and publicity. That anthology is fabulous, and doing really well. But I’m one little person in one little town, who wants to remain mostly anonymous for personal reasons. I have no idea how I’m going to get this thing noticed. Hope recognized this as a major roadblock, too; she went back to her room (cage), slammed the door, and took a temper tantrum.
She started getting restless again when my initial Facebook posts were getting a few hundred views and plenty of likes. Soc is a big deal! she yelled, poking my ribs. But when my friends stopped sharing, no one saw them: 500 views turned to 15, with no engagements. Hope started wearing black lipstick and chains and listening to that shitty, screaming Emo music that shook the house.
Instagram has been far kinder, with a few features on poetry pages like packpoetry, silverleafpoetry, and bymepoetryamerica that have garnered likes, page views, followers, and even some consistent fans. (I have to say, these sites are incredible supporters of poets, their content is spectacular, and it’s truly an honor to be featured there. Very humbling.) When one of the founders of packpoetry messaged to tell me they’d be happy to feature Drowning Back to Life when it hits Amazon next week, I did do a happy dance. Hope traded the black lipstick for a nice, neutral lipgloss. And today, a site that’s featured poetry and bios from the likes of r.h. sin, Amanda Lovelace, and other poets whose books I have on my own shelves, commented that I should tag them in the poem I posted. I didn’t realize the kind of artists they featured until I scoped out the page, but when I did, Hope leaped out of her cage, slammed the door, and said, “Fuck you, I’m not going back in there.” “But I’ve got nothing published,” I countered. “These guys are already famous. They’re not gonna pick me.” She literally snatched the key to her prison (the one I wore around my neck), swallowed it, stripped naked right there in the living room, and sauntered down the stairs to take a bubble bath.
I recently told my closest friend that I’ve gotten extremely insecure about this whole book-publishing thing and I was keeping myself grounded so that I didn’t get crushed when no one but us bought it. Months of hard work, pouring out my soul, and sleepless nights spent wrestling with some pretty major decisions are going to be worthless when no one sees this thing. She came back at me with what I had been not allowing myself to think since day one: “All the greats started somewhere! They were writing words down on napkins in coffee shops, and look at them now!” And I remembered saying something similar to my editor over the summer: I want this to be big. Other people do it-why can’t we? Other people make it-why not us?
The other day, I picked up a copy of The Magnolia Journal (I have a slight obsession with Chip and Joanna and their absolutely beautiful life together), but haven’t had the chance to read it until we had an unexpected snow day today. On the cover, as if put there just for me, is the caption
The Thrill of Hope: Choosing to Live in HOPEFUL EXPECTATION
and I thought, Shut the hell up, girl! You did NOT just say that! Which then led me to think of the last line of a poem I literally wrote this afternoon:
a little hope/never hurt/anyone,/I think
I’m pretty sure all of these things (writing that poem, the Insta site telling me to tag them in that same poem, and Joanna Gaines herself telling me to “live in hopeful expectation”) didn’t just occur today because of coincidence.
And I’m pretty sure a little Hope never did hurt anyone (even if she’s cocky as hell and running up my water bill).
PS: Check back next week for an official release and link for Drowning Back to Life!