Dear forgiving readers,
If you’re feeling let down by my lack of recent blog postings, here is the man to blame…
Derrick Brown is the President and motivational force behind WRITE BLOODY PUBLISHING, the publisher for my new book of poems CEREMONY FOR THE CHOKING GHOST, coming out in a few short weeks! I’m in the final days of checking and rechecking various details from author photo to line breaks, and I want to share a few thoughts about the business of being a published writer.
First off, I’m THRILLED and HONORED to be published by Write Bloody. The press has published so many of my poetry heros, including Derrick Brown, Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojgani, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, to name a handful. I feel really lucky to have this chance. Check out other titles by the press at the Write Bloody Store.
Second, I feel a deep desire to publish this book. Most poems in the book came after a period of silence and grief over losing my sister to heart failure, an event I still have trouble talking about in non-metaphor. The poems brought me some sense of healing and I hope that they are useful and meaningful to people who read and hear them.
Still, despite the luck and desire associated with publishing the book, I find myself wrestling demons in these final days before print. Most are common demons familiar to all writers and probably all artists: fear of being judged, fear of narcissism, fear of re-walking the well-trod ground. Others are familiar to those with grief (maybe Westerners with grief) fear of being consumed with my own grief to the exclusion of others, fear of offending others who are also grieving with my version of the story, fear of saying something that doesn’t honor the life of my sister well enough.
These demons have been joining up for wine tastings every evening around my kitchen table, making it difficult to do anything but sit with them as they get drunk on my every fear. I think these demons are invited by the knowledge of being SEEN. By publishing this book, I’m allowing the world to take a good, long look and that is a terrifying thing to do.
Luckily, friends and other writers help me return to the sense of lightness required in such dark caves. I am not my work, it is just something I do and hope other people enjoy. Also, the success or lack of success for this work has nothing to do with the way I honor my sister. These were the things I reminded myself today as I hit “send” on the email approving the final version of the book.
I’ll be updating my blog more now that the email is off, telling you all of upcoming TOUR DATES and more information on my BOOK RELEASE PARTY. For now, I’m reminding myself that most artists, most people, face these same monsters and doing my best to welcome them to the table.