For you kind, patient souls out there who’ve been checking in here occasionally for progress on my book, a couple things:
First, thank you. It turns out writing a book is actually way harder than walking across a continent, and so I appreciate the continued support. I haven’t been posting much here over the past two years, mostly because I’ve been pouring myself into the manuscript, which hasn’t left me with much writing-juice for the blog. Writing this book has been like singing a years-long song, except it’s been a silent song. It can only resonate with sound once someone else is reading the book. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer now, because what’s the use of a silent song? It’s like some kind of unanswerable Zen koan.
Second, some logistics. The universe threw me a bit of a curveball, and since it’ll affect the trajectory of the book’s timing, I wanted to tell the short story here. My editor at Houghton Mifflin moved on to a new job at Penguin in the fall. I was sorry to lose her – she’d been a great mentor and advocate for me – but we parted ways on good terms. Then, this spring, Houghton Mifflin informed me they wanted to cancel my contract. The reasons for this are complex, and to be completely honest I don’t fully understand all of them myself, but there’s no need to go into any of that here. The main thing is, I had a publisher once. Now I don’t.
I won’t pretend I wasn’t devastated, but the whole thing has taught me a lot: Beware your expectations. Mind your attachments. Let go of your grasping. Don’t fight the unfolding, trust it. It has also given me the chance to dance with Doubt, and learn from it, and walk away (on my good days). My friend, Alexis (who took me in with her husband, Archie, out in New Mexico when I was walking), wrote me this after I first found out about the cancellation. It’s too good not to share, especially for anyone being pursued by Doubt on the dance floor:
“Don’t let that little fucker DOUBT come a-knocking, Andrew. Don’t you dare open that door, not even a little crack. Please believe me when I say that nothing good will come from doubting yourself. You have a gift, make no mistake. Part of life’s sweet challenge is to know what you know, with a faithful knowingness – even when the vagaries of life would temporarily have you believe otherwise. Doubt blossoms when its alter-ego, Trust, thrives only on the feedback from others.”
So it is with all of us and our gifts.
All this to say, it’s going to take me a bit longer to give birth to this book. But I guess that’s not out of character. I move at a pretty slow pace most of the time. I made my mom go through a 40-hour labor before I finally decided I was ready to enter this world. Now that I’m the one in labor, though, and it’s taking forever, I can say I feel your pain, Mom. Actually, no, no I can’t. Let’s be real: Writing is a joke compared to childbirth. Mad respect to all you moms out there.
I’m hoping to find a new publisher this summer. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks so much for being there.