This is happening. So so so so slowly, but definitely, positively surely. My hybrid book of memoir, poetry and image will be released in June! It’s called I Want More. The exact date is not set, because nothing about this book has been exact and nothing about this book has been speedy.
Just like me.
It’s taken me 48 years to do this even though I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Even though I’ve been published in literary journals since I was in college. Even though I got my MFA 13 years ago. Even though I finished writing this book at the end of 2017.
Many years ago, I went on a few dates with a very wealthy, slightly older businessman who heard me say “writer” and “massage therapist” and probably made assumptions about my intelligence and talent. I’d made assumptions about him too, so I’m not claiming some higher ground. On our third or fourth date, I happened to have just received the news that one of my personal essays got the “Notable” nod in that year’s Best American Essays, a fact I shared with the man over cocktails. He was a reader. He knew this was a worthy accolade. I watched the surprise roll through him. Suddenly, I was legit in his eyes.
In the moment, I reveled in upturning his view of me. I’ve always loved being unexpected. Later, I resented that I only became legitimate to him once a reward was pinned to my chest. Did he only became a legit businessman once he started making six figures? Were all his efforts prior to that just a quaint hobby?
I’m not going to say that I prefer to be publishing this book myself as opposed to having the support of a small press behind it, but the book isn’t less legit because of it. It’s not less legit because I’ve been piecing it together for at least 8 years. I’m a writer that doesn’t write every day. I’m a writer that has taken many largely guilt-free years off entirely. I’m a writer who has considered her iphone photographs her writing practice for the last twelve months. I’m a writer with a B.A. in English and a MFA in fiction that doesn’t, for the life of me, understand how plot works. I’m a writer that thought she wrote a book mostly of prose pieces then all her readers called them poems.
I say all this so my own internal critic can hear it and can then shut the hell up. I say this so that long-lost businessman, though he’ll never read this, can go fuck himself. I say this so any writers wondering when their “Legit Writer” pin will arrive in the mail will be encouraged to stop waiting and go make their own damn pins.
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