I spent most of today trying to write a blog post that wasn’t about my book. It didn’t work for a variety of reasons, starting with “how can I write when I’m feeling queasy from nerves” and ending with “not thinking about my book means I just think about it double.”
Have I mentioned I have a book coming out tomorrow? Because I do.
A lot of authors like to maintain detachment from these mortal events. “Oh that? It’s my fourth, I’m terribly blasé about it.” Well, this isn’t my fourth and I’m anything but. I spent all this weekend alternating between “book book book!” and wondering why I was having anxiety dreams.
The anxiety dreams are about two main things. First and foremost, there’s how my book will be received. See, I’m not afraid people will hate it. Hate’s fine; hate’s an emotion. Rather, I’m mortally terrified that people won’t read it at all. That everyone will go, “Oh, I’ll buy it next month” and then never do so at all.
Not you, of course. You’re reading it tomorrow, I know you are (oh god, aren’t you?) but what if! What if I shout and no one listens? That’s a horrible thought, and I think I’m well justified in my long stares into the ether of my mind as I contemplate it.
The other reason for my legions of dread is, er, a bit less reasonable, but no less worrying in its enormity. Bear with me here.
Long ago my mother and I agreed that in my life, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. The irony which surrounds my every move is supreme to the point of being a bit weird.
Not only am I an ame-onna—a woman who brings rain wherever she goes—I have the sort of luck that means if someone else is doing something wrong, I’m going to get blamed for not reporting them sooner while they get a raise for doing what needed done. Jerks zero in on me like I’m magnetic and they’re refrigerators. Electronics inexplicably go haywire when I touch them. My toast has never once landed butter-side down.
It’s a special sort of luck, and for a couple years it tended towards the abysmal, to the point that Husband and I joked we’d used it all up by meeting. The universe had to arrange an American and a Scot to go to the same country at the same time and live seventy miles from each other, put us on the same train going to the same festival. When we still didn’t show any signs of talking, it then had to make him think I was the wrong person and make sure my date for the day was accidentally busy so I’d hang out with this strange new guy.
Talk about luck! Of course we didn’t have any left for awhile; we’d clearly spent our allotment. It’s been long enough since then that the cosmic balance has reasserted itself, but nevertheless, as my book release has drawn closer and closer, my sense of doom has only risen. What if, what if, what if?
It’s never what you’re expecting.
Never. Remember that. Yes, something happened. What is it, you ask?
It’s my bloody luck, that’s what it is.
See, I’m not typing this post on my computer.
Today, March 14th, was a lovely sunny day. I spent the morning and part of the afternoon staring at my screen, obsessively refreshing until around three, when I decided I’d had enough. I called a friend, grabbed a sun hat, and walked uptown to meet for coffee.
We had a lovely chat over our drinks, my friend and I. My mom works nearby, and I texted her hello as well. She warned us that there would be a thunderstorm soon, and offered a ride home. We both accepted.
The rain hit just as we reached my mother’s van, but no matter. First we dropped off my friend, and then my mother turned the car in the opposite direction. She asked if I wanted to come to her house for dinner, but I declined, as I recalled that I’d left the bedroom window open. Though there was nothing under it, I wanted to get back and close it against the howling wind and rain.
You know what happened, right?
Yes, the bedroom window really was open. So was the living room window. The only living room window. The living room window under which, the moment we moved in, I had claimed as the spot I would put my desk. And laptop. And proof copies.
The empty bowl that was sitting next to my things had an eighth of an inch of water in it by the time I got back to my apartment.
My laptop’s not broken, but it is hanging out in a bag of rice in hopes of drawing out any excess moisture. Which means I shouldn’t retrieve my files for a few hours, or upload them yet. I was planning to start that as soon as I got home, but…
If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Really.
Don’t worry, What Boys Are Made Of will be out tomorrow. One way or another, this thing’s gonna happen.
But the next time I tell you “it’s just my luck?” Don’t laugh, don’t sneer. Rather, nod along and be glad my luck isn’t yours.
4 thoughts on “My Life Is a Cosmic Joke”
I hope your laptop is okay!
I have that type of luck too. A couple weeks before my book launch, I had a big soda sitting on my desk. I also had an empty bag on my desk. I picked up the bag to move it and tapped the straw of the soda with the bottom. It was just enough to throw the soda off of equilibrium and dump directly into my computer, frying my motherboard……
It was only by chance that the morning that this happened, I had a paranoid moment and uploaded a final edit of all of my files and my book cover to my e-mail. I had to use my kids’ very slow, Frankenstein-esque computer to launch.
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That is the worst. KDP is terrible enough to deal with even with a new computer, let alone an old one. But hey, luck giveth, luck taketh away! Good thing you got paranoid.
Lucky for me even if it had all gone bottoms-up, Husband has a billion copies of everything. But it would have been awful. Completely awful.
To quote one of my protagonists: “I don’t believe in luck.”
But that doesn’t mean I’m not worrying about my own book releases at the end of the month. I keep having thoughts like “What if a page somehow gets omitted…or an entire chapter?”
And, yes, what if no one gives a damn and this wonderful dream comes crashing down in flames?
Here’s to hoping you/we find some peace and enjoyment during this exciting time.
For what it’s worth, I’m told separation anxiety is normal for first-time parents…er…authors.
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Ahaha I published a play and a short story so I’d know what I was doing, and it kindof worked. But I’d be more honest if I’d say it didn’t. I had to nurse myself to sleep with British comedies and rum last night. But it’s up! It’s there! It’s happening!
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