I’m writing a book.
I’ve been writing it since 2009 actually.
You may be thinking to yourself, “That seems like an awfully long time to be writing a book, Jo,” and you would be right, so let me clarify. What I mean by “I’ve been writing a book,” is “I’ve been sitting on my couch watching SVU: Law and Order reruns.”
Basically the same thing.
Once I decided to write a book, and before I had even typed my first word, I made the mistake of announcing my intentions to anyone within hearing or reading distance and ever since have found myself at the tail end of the same aggravating question, over and over (and over) again:
“How’s your book coming?”
Pretty damn nosy if you ask me.
There’s only so many ways you can reply “Great!” before it begins to sound like “#$%#$#$ing mind your own beeswax.”
Eventually I learned to change the subject:
“How’s your book coming?”
“No habla espanol.”
“I asked you in English.”
This worked just fine until the question evolved into:
“What’s your book about?”
“Well, you see, I think Joseph Conrad said it best: “A moment, a twinkling of an eye and nothing remains – but a clod of mud, of cold mud, of dead mud cast into black space, rolling around an extinguished sun. Nothing. Neither thought, nor sound, nor soul. Nothing.“
Clearly it was my intention to put whomever was standing in front of me into a coma but I settled for confusing the crap out of them before I huffed off in that mysterious way authors do.*
Eventually avoiding the subject became just as much work as avoiding writing the damn book (Have you ever avoided writing a book? It’s the single most productive way of organizing your home. My tile grout is cleaner than when we originally bought it) and so I finally gave in and began writing.
That was Monday.
I’ve turned to my husband and best friends for inspiration and advice:
“Put down the Lysol.”
“Write what you know.”
” STOP STALLING BY ASKING ME FOR ADVICE AND GET TO WORK DAMMIT.”
But my some of my favorite advice came this afternoon, from my amazing friend Rox:
“Are you having trouble telling people that the book is about you?”
“Well, I think Albert Camus said it best…Okay. Yes. Yes. I’m having trouble with that.”
And that’s when it dawned on me. I’ve been avoiding the book and answering any questions about it because I’m covered head-to-toe in a thick, dreary, semi-permanent layer of self-doubt. I feel I’m undeserving and unworthy of success and in my pessimistic state, undermine any real opportunity to make my dreams of becoming a New York Times Bestselling author come true. I am literally the only thing standing in the way of my true happiness.
Which, if I’m not mistaken, is the actual Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of a writer. Which can only mean one thing: I’m a writer!!! And writers write books!
So off I go. And if you must know, the book is coming along….slowly but surely. My tile grout is dingier than its been in a long time and that’s a good sign.
And for the record, it’s about me. ME. Thousands and thousands of words, strung together to tell my story.
I believe Erica Jong said it best: “I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.”
Or some famous authory crap like that.
*I’ve never actually seen an author huff of mysteriously, but I’m pretty confidant that’s what they do. And if they don’t, they totally should.