Monday, February 28, 2011

In time, far away

Searching my closet for things that I could throw away with little regret, I happened upon one of the lost journals from college. I forget when, but sometime through my matriculation, I stopped taking notes in helpful ways. It might have started as far back as high school, but flipping page by page was like looking into my thinking life as it was at that time. One page had brief and confusing class notes scribbled in a rushed hand, then the next was a diary entry of sorts, naming my demons and listing their predilections, which was followed again by half a page of notes from a completely different class than the first. Only the journal entries had dates, and none of the class notes had titles. Occasionally, there would be rough drafts of poems written on the back of flyers for events on campus. I poured over it with a friend, and he repeated a quote I gave him earlier about how bad authors publish such things and good authors burn them. Mine is sitting beneath a dusty box of quiet nothings, almost trash, and almost not.

A power outage is to be scheduled next week in the zip code of my publisher, which I was informed from multiple sources would push back the official release day to the 8th. I think the author of that formerly lost journal would have lost his mind at that, seeing omens in the wind with a third eye. I acknowledge that it could be the first of an endless array of mysterious set backs, but it wouldn't be overly helpful to think that way, however it also wouldn't surprise me. I'm happy that I got this far into the process, and in general I think, I'm happier as a person. Randomly, I found another writer to spread the word about the release, gave her my cover art, which brings the total to five: a quintet of outlets pulsing into the web the news of my coming. Hopefully, some sort of magical confluence will occur. Either way, I'm confident I did a moderately decent job of upholding my end of the contract in that regard.Further, I published another story on fictionaut, so perhaps that counts for something, too.

A friend bought me a book about publicity, which is a word I have yet to hear in this entire process. The book even specifically separates the concepts of promotion and publicity as two different things. I read chapter one, then perused the next few. It asked me questions I was hard pressed to answer, and outlined a grim situation of how many books are published a year, and how many first time authors are pumped into the market (the metaphor was that authors are thrown into an overcrowded pool, and most drown with their brethren standing on their heads). Helpful bits seemed to center around something they call a silver bullet, but has also been described to me as an elevator pitch. Which is to say a focused laser beam comprised of all the books unique and good qualities which can be whipped out and wielded at a moment's notice. I guess after I finally think of one for my work, I'll practice at not cutting my own hands off.

In other news, the pace is holding. Saturday nights these days I get an anxious feeling in my stomach and I worry about having enough time to draft three chapters before I go back to work. That proves to be the final catalyst, added to outlining and brainstorming, to get words down on paper. The concept, I've been told, roughly translated from the notes of a famous general is "fighting with one's back to water." So far, the stress in the midst of the writing has not been so debilitating, and the results are well within acceptable ranges. I'm four weeks in, with two dozen or so to go. It's interesting to me that with every step, I changed and become someone new, that maybe some other me will look back on these writings of mine and revel at being in an even better place. 

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