If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I write like crooked politicians vote: often and always. For me the wall has never been about writing, and I confess, dear reader, that I don’t experience writer’s block, maybe because I keep rotating among projects, aiming for where the energy is, and loving the act of writing. What don’t I love? Not being able to get writing published, even after years of trying, reading books on writing the perfect query letter, writing agents who are friends of friends, and feeling generally hopeless for long stretches of time (I also don’t love the Bush administration, the scary look in Sarah Palin’s eyes, and cottage cheese). All of this is to say that I have good news: my memoir about breast cancer, bioregionalism and community — The Sky Begins at Your Feet — is going to be published.
Ice Cube Press, a small Iowa-based press that specializes in books about the earth is publishing my memoir. The little email I got today from the publisher with the contract attached showed me what I’ve been wanting to hear for a very long time: yes.
My woe-is-me-and-the-publishing-world-sucks story is long and boring, and suffice to say, I went through all the stages of grief. After years of yearning to be “choosen” by, say, HarperCollins or another big press, despite all I heard about the screwed up state of publishing and how authors are treated, I persisted in holding onto the old dream. For decades.
I went through bargaining (please publish my book and I’ll polish your poodle for you); anger, mostly when I walked through bookstores (why them and not me?); denial (maybe the 20 agents I wrote to simply misplaced my query letter); and depression (and how!). Eventually found myself to looking more honestly at the situation, which some might call acceptance, and thanks be to good and patient friends, who helped me cultivate more curiosity and tenderness about it all. The old dream about being chosen didn’t hold so much weight anymore, but the writing itself did, and if I wanted to get my work out, I could, which led me to where I’m landing now.
On the ground, where the sky begins.