Today is the official publication date for my book, and contrary to all my expectations, a meteor has not hit the earth. Yet. In fact, the day itself is fairly quiet. I plan to drive over to my local Barnes & Noble to see my books (which are supposed to be in the front of the store—thank you Penguin!). Later today I’m teaching my class and we’ll have a bottle of champagne, which, given that there are fourteen people in the class, is not likely to lead to much debauchery. And then, tonight, some friends are coming over and we will have more champagne.
Not to say that nothing exciting is going on. For one thing, for this week, I am the official blogger for the Penguin web site, which is a big, big honor (and I have put the link in the blogroll). Let me tell you that going to the Penguin site and seeing my name (and face) alongside some of those other authors is just surreal. I spent a good part of my childhood in a library looking at those little penguins on the spines of books and it’s thrilling to be a part of it.
There are lots of other things going on—reviews and articles and readings and so forth, but the whole experience is different than a movie premiere, for example. There is no one moment at which my editor trots out my book and people applaud (unless, of course, she’s not telling me something). When I think of the other major experiences of my life (marriage and having children), they have followed a more traditional narrative arc. There’s all that excitement before the baby is born and then you have that big climactic moment of labor and then, there’s the baby. With a book, the narrative arc is more like a Chekhov story; life goes on and you’re different, but in a quiet way.
Which is really fine with me, because as exciting and wonderful as all this is, the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to do anything that takes me away from writing. At the end of the day, I’m happiest when I’m sitting in front of a computer, thinking about a story. So I’ll drink my champagne, and then I’ll go back to work.
How about you? What will you do the day your story or book is published?