I just hit the “send” button on the email to my publisher, releasing into the wilds between my novel after 16 years of writing and revising every speck and inch of this story. The Divorce Girl, the novel I’ve been writing in my head since I was about 15, is coming out this summer, thanks to Ice Cube Books.
It’s an astonishing and simple thing to give the work of a good part of a lifetime over to its ending as one kind of work and beginning as its own thing. The manuscript is finished being in-process at this moment and since I’ve lived over 36 years with it in-process in one way or another, I’m feeling a little sad, a lot happy, and eerily calm. Writing this book has been a life practice, a way of transforming the dysfunctions of my wacky childhood into material I could learn from, a meditation on where I came from, a love story about New Jersey and the girl I was (fictionalized into someone far taller and brighter than I was). Now the practice is on its way to becoming a thing, a vessel that will carry words and stories, images and rhythms, from the interior to the exterior.
This is not to say that a book is a stagnant thing. Having done readings far and near for some years, I love how, in the reading of a book, the story gains new dimensions, and I learn other things it has to say to me between its layers of words. But a published book is outrageously different than a book in process, kind of like going from land to sea, or earth to cosmos, or simply my little mind to readers’ minds.
So in sending the manuscript along, I’m letting that manuscript go, knowing it will return to me in another form, and also knowing that this particular chapter of my own story is finished, and I’m onto an empty and bright new page.